Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Myanmar emerges as major travel destination

(Reuters) - Myanmar has been rejuvenating from the impact of travel sanctions imposed by European countries three years ago and is emerging as a favored travel destination in Asia.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar, tourism has become a major source of the country's fiscal income and the country is expected to receive three million travelers in 2014.

Before 2011, only fewer than 800,000 tourists visited Myanmar every year on average. Yet, as the country pushes forward with its comprehensive reforms and opening-up policy, the number of tourists has been rising sharply in recent years.

In 2013, the gross turnover of the tourism industry reached 926 million US dollars, up 130 percent than in 2012. The country aspires to bring the number of visitors further to five million in 2015, according to the ministry.

With a diversified landscape from snow-capped mountains and highland in the west to coastal beaches in the southwest, and the widespread plain in the central part, Myanmar enjoys abundant tourism resources. Yet, over the last 50 years, the overwhelming beauty of the country has been concealed until it opened up to the outside world in 2011.

"[Myanmar] is a country with agreeable scenery, but just recently it has been noted by the rest of the world. Many are curious and interested about this place, which has promoted the development of our tourism sector. It will enjoy great prospects in the future," said U Ohn Mying, who is in charge of Rangon Bureau of Myanmar's Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Within the three years of comprehensive reforms and opening-up, Myanmar has opened 22 international air routes, which has brought the country closer to the rest of the world and also has promoted the development of the country's tourism.

"All sectors are benefiting from tourism, including hotels, travel agencies, travel guides, and the transportation department. Tourism is benefiting the whole nation," said Ohn Mying.

Meanwhile, Chinese visitors have accounted for a large proportion in the total number of foreign visitors to Myanmar. In many scenic spots and souvenir markets, signboards written in Chinese are seen everywhere. In the most famous Aung San souvenir market in Rangon, the number of visitors may top 100,000 and most of them are Chinese. Many shop runners in the market speak fluent Chinese. And Mynmar is expected to be a major destination for Chinese travelers in the near future, as the cooperation in the sector of tourism is leaping forward between the two countries, according to Ohn Mying.

source: Solar News
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