Roundup: Myanmar expects to attract more tourists in 2015

January 9, 2015 3:10 am 

By Su Myat Sandy

YANGON, Jan. 8 (PNA/Xinhua) — Myanmar, among the world tourist destinations, received 3.05 million tourists in 2014 and expectated to attract five million tourists in 2015.

Of the 3.05 million tourists who visited Myanmar in 2014, 70 percent mainly came from ASEAN member countries, followed by those from Europe, especially Britain and Germany.

The 2014 figure was up 49.5 percent from 2.04 million in 2013, official statistics showed.

Myanmar also targets to bring in over 7.5 million tourists in 2020.

Myanmar's tourism earning hit USD1.14 billion in 2014, breaking the record of last year's USD914 million.

The tourism industry accounted for 4.2 percent of the overall gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. It created about 6.5 percent of the total job opportunities.

There are over 1,000 hotels including inns, motels and guest houses owned by local businessmen, most of which are located in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar.

There is a total of 39 foreign-invested hotels and commercial complexes across the country, including Yangon and Mandalay Region.

Amid the surge in tourist arrivals, the number of tourism companies also increased to 1,623 in 2014.

To boost regional tourism, Myanmar will host the 34th annual ASEAN Tourism Forum for the first time from Jan. 22 to Jan. 29 which is expected to be attended by some 1,500 participants from 40 countries, including tourism ministers and officials, ASEAN exhibitors and international buyers, as well as local and international media circle.

During the eight-day forum, ASEAN Tourism Ministers Meeting, Ministerial Meeting between on Tourism between ASEAN and its dialogue partners, ASEAN Tourism Authorized Persons' Meeting and related meetings including business matching sessions will take place in the capital.

According to regional tourism statistics, 99.2 million international tourists visited ASEAN in 2013.

In a bid to boost tourist arrivals in the country, Myanmar has introduced online e-visa for tourists from 67 economies, including ASEAN's since Sept. 1, 2014.

The system ensures all tourists worldwide destined to Myanmar to get e-visa within five days.

Moreover, Myanmar has also reached visa exemption agreements with Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and negotiations are underway with Malaysia and Singapore on similar agreements.

In a bid to attract international tourists, Myanmar is implementing maintenance projects with well-known tourist sites such as Bagan in Mandalay Region, Inlay in Shan State, Myauk-U in Rakhine State and Yangon.

Myanmar enacted Hotels and Tourism Law in 1993, allowing the private sector to operate in tourism industry.

Foreign investment in the hotels and tourist sector reached USD2.15 billion, accounting for 4.26 percent of the total and standing the sixth in Myanmar's foreign investment line-up as of November 2014 since late 1988 when the country first opened its door to the world.

The country sees bright prospects for its tourism industry in 2015 for its rich culture heritage and numerous attractive tourist sites. (PNA/Xinhua)



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