New Myanmar tourism statistics show that leisure travel to the country is on the rise, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has confirmed.
The new data shows that more than 1.3 million tourists visited the Southeast Asian country, formerly known as Burma, between January to September of this year. The numbers mark a significant increase in the number of visitors to Myanmar, with 390,000 more tourists or a rise of 41 per cent from the same period last year.
A Ministry source attributed the increase to recent campaigns to promote tourism in Myanmar, especially the government’s ‘Look-East’ policy, which aims to draw more tourists from Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
Tourism insiders also point to the recent relaxation of visa requirements for many Asian travelers to Myanmar as another contributing factor to the increase in Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean tourists visiting the country.
Myanmar Visa on Arrival Boosting Tourist Numbers
Citizens of Japan and South Korea are now able to visit Myanmar for up to 30 days visa-free. Meanwhile, Chinese citizens can now obtain a Myanmar visa on arrival at select points of entry to the country: Yangon International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, and Mandalay International Airport.
Myanmar visas on arrival are now available to travelers from over 50 countries. Citizens of Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland were most recently added to the list in an effort to attract more tourism from Western countries.
However, Myanmar tourism operators have said they have yet to see a significant rise in tourism from European countries following the increased availability of the visa on arrival, and that the government must try harder to entice western tourists to the country.
In fact, statistics show there has been a 1 per cent decrease in the number of European travelers entering Myanmar from January to September compared to the same period last year.
The failure to boost European visitor numbers with the new relaxed visa requirements has been attributed to the fact they were introduced after the traditional tour season had already started.
eVisa for Myanmar Could Help to Increase Tourism from Europe
Myanmar tourist arrivals from western countries could continue to climb now that the country has followed in the footsteps of a number of Asian countries and introduced an online electronic visa system for a large number of nationalities.
The Myanmar eVisa for both tourism and business purposes is now available for citizens of all European Union countries. Eligible citizens are able to complete a simple online application in just a few minutes to receive an approved visa for Myanmar sent directly to their email inbox.
The eVisa for tourism allows a total stay of 28 days in the country for leisure purposes, while the Myanmar electronic visa for business permits those with an invitation from a company in Myanmar to stay a total of 70 days. Both visas are valid for 90 days to enter the country from the date of issue.