Myanmar to join hands with neighbouring countries to revive its tourism sector
28 June 2020: The Myanmar Government is reported to have decided to join hands with its neighbours such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to revive its tourism sector which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The four countries have managed to contain the spread of the corona virus. Myanmar’s tourism industry accounts for 6.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, generating US$4.9 billion in 2017, and employs 1.4 million people.
Reportedly, Tourism in Myanmar is a developing sector. Although Myanmar possesses great tourist potential and attractions in many respects, much of the industry remains to be developed. The number of visitors to Burma is small compared to her neighbours, outpaced by even Laos. However, after the junta transferred power to the civilian government, the tourism sector saw an increase in tourism arrivals. In 2013, the Tourism Master Plan was created, targeting 7.5 million arrivals by 2020. Tourism has been developed mainly by Myanmar’s government, which has encouraged tourism since 1992. Private enterprises also exist, catering to a wide range of tourists. Visitors to Myanmar will find there is much to discover and experience – from pristine natural regions to golden pagodas to relics from an ancient past.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) has more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.
Recently, U Tin Latt, Deputy Minister of Hotels and Tourism, is reported to have informed at a forum on June 1, 2020, that the Government will introduce regional tourism services with its three neighbours. He felt that by travelling to Myanmar and within other ASEAN countries, the government can show that Myanmar is safe from COVID-19. He said the four countries had signed an agreement to ease border access among them. Myanmar remained closed to foreign tourists with an international flight ban until June 15. Visitors to Myanmar dropped by 44 per cent from January to April as the world grappled with the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has been implementing plans for tourism development and plans to ensure security, safety and convenience of international visitors travelling in Myanmar. Respective Region/State Governments recently issued instructions on restricting foreigners entering their Regions/States to contain COVID 19 pandemic.