How Can Myanmar Lure Back Foreign Tourists?

Many people became curious of Myanmar after the country opened its doors to foreign investments in 2011. Because Myanmar has only been recently opened to the world, visitors can still witness traditional culture that has not been heavily influenced by the modern world and technology. However, at the service apartment in Yangon, there is high speed Wi-Fi that connects to the outside world.

The tourism industry of Myanmar suffered lately due to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Now the government wants to lure the tourists back to the country by experimenting with several incentives that can attract visitors from Asia. In order to counteract the fall in US and European visitors, Myanmar abandoned the prerequisite for new visa arrangements for Japanese, Chinese and South Korean visitors to have $1,000 in cash when they visit the country.

According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, as of last June, the country welcomed 1.72 million foreign visitors. However, in the past year, the number of visitors from the UK, France, Germany and Italy has fallen by an average of 15%. Stakeholders in the tourism industry are urging the government to create better policies and programs for the promotion of Myanmar as a tourist destination.

Some of the better ideas to improve the industry are to organize talent recruitment fairs and reduce the confusion over visa requirements for tourists coming from China, South Korea and Japan. According to authorities, visa exemptions will be given to travellers from Japan and South Korea from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019. It is expected that the number of Japanese tourists will double over the period.

For sustainable growth in the industry, more options in accommodations, domestic travels and activities must be provided to visitors. More affordable hotels and guesthouses must be available for budget travellers. The country’s infrastructures must also be improved for convenience.

There have been a number of investments in affordable hotels and apartments. A group of travellers has the option of service apartment in Yangon that is more cost effective than 4-star or 5-star hotels. A visitor can choose from the one-room, two-room or three-room apartments with fully equipped kitchens and separate dining room.

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