The ministry is targeting more than 3 million foreign tourists this year, up from about 1.05 million in 2012 and 2.04 million last year.
The industry has seen spectacular growth since the government launched its economic reforms three years ago, eclipsing most other industries. It generated revenues of US$534 million in 2012 and US$926 million last year.
January to May this year, tourism generated revenue of US$552 million from 1.2 million visits, putting it on track to surpass US$1 billion and 3 million visits by year-end.
Hotels, travel agencies, transportation services, tour guides, restaurants and souvenir shops are enjoying a boom in business, but there are complaints that popularity has drawbacks; one of them being staff are working long hours. Soft renovations of rooms and maintenance is difficult to schedule if hotels are constantly fully booked.
Officially, the country has six five-star, 17 four-star, 83 three-star, 116 two-star and 102 one-star hotels as well as ministry-approved 599 hotels, motels and inns.
The combined capacity is 38,722 rooms, but more hotels are in the construction pipeline that should end the room shortage within two to three years.
About 1,000 more rooms should come on line by 2015.
Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, Bagan and Inlay regions have seen an influx of tourists and this is encouraging foreign companies to invest in the hotel sector, first in Yangon where development is mainly in the five- and four-star category, led by Singaporean investors.
source: TTR Weekly