Monthly Archives: January 2015

Myanmar pursues tourism gold

Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism reports tourist arrivals in 2014 reached a record 3.5 million visits and earned more than USD1 billion.

Eleven Myanmar news channel said tourist arrivals reached 3.5 million and earned USD1.135 billion, compared to 2.04 million visits and USD926 million in 2013. It was quoting ministry sources.

Since the government recognised tourism as a priority to prop up an ailing economy three years ago, Myanmar’s tourism has taken off. The  dramatic improvement was attributed to pent-up demand from travellers who had objected to decades of military rule and the suppression of  basic freedoms. The lifting of international sanctions also encouraged people to travel.

This year, tourism should expand to around 4 or 5 million trips and 7.5 million by 2020. But there are concerns that the pursuit of just economic goals in tourism will erode value and the cultural experience. Officials frequently make comparisons with Thailand claiming they will not make the same mistakes, but they see tourism as a quick fix to bring economic benefits. As more hotel companies enter the country and aviation opens up new gateways it will be difficult to control tourism growth and with it the downside and negative impacts it has on culture and lifestyle.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism will coordinate nearly USD500 million in spending in the tourism sector to add facilities through 2020. In turn, the ministry expects revenue from tourism-related services to rise from USD534 million in 2012 to more than USD10 billion in 2020.

The ministry is also opening up new tourist destinations expanding tourism to coastal regions and adding facilities in popular destination such as Bagan, Inlay, Mrauk U and the commercial capital, Yangon.

Source : TTR Weekly

Ocean tourism generates record foreign revenues

KAWTHOUNG – Ocean tourism in the Myeik Archipelago in Kawthoung District, Taninthayi Region, generated more than US$85,000 in December – a record high – according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Kawthoung District.
Last December, a total of 601 tourists visited the archipelagos in Myeik Township. Most visitors came from France, Germany, Switzerland, Thailand and China.
“The district’s revenue in December last year is 39 per cent of the total for all of 2013. 601 of foreigners visited the Myeik Archipelago. The number of ships in the area is rising. The foreigners are interested in the beautiful ocean scenery. That’s why they stay at sea for many days. A German tourism guidebook described the Myeik Archipelago as the 15th top tourist destination for 2015. The regional government committee is now lifting the travel restrictions, and authorities are fulfilling the requirements,” said Officer Hlwan Moe from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Kawthoung District.
The Myanmar government allowed foreigners to travel freely in the archipelago in Kawthoung District, except in restricted areas. A foreigner must pay $100 per sea excursion, or $150 to travel beyond a certain distance.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

2014, record-breaking year for tourism sector

Last year’s tourist arrivals have set a new record, earning over one billion USD, according to the ministry of hotels and tourism.

The number of tourist arrivals reached 3.5 million and earned 1.135 billion USD. The hotels and tourism ministry designated the 2014 as a record-breaking year as the tourist arrivals and tourism revenue in 2014 surpassed those in 2013. The record revenue in 2013 amounted to 926 million USD.

Since the government designated the tourism as business three years ago, Myanmar’s tourism has been booming. The tourism sector receives more tourist arrivals and earned increased revenues year on year.

The annual revenue generated from the government tourism sector accounts for one-quarter of total incomes. But private sectors and small-scale tourism businesses have earned more tourism revenues, according to the ministry of hotels and tourism.

The number of tourist arrivals is expected to reach an estimated four or five million in the 2015. For that, the ministry is planning to expend its tourist destinations.

The government officials from Myanmar and Thailand held discussions on the development of tourism sector in December 2014.

Before these discussions, Myanmar has implemented its plan to develop tourism sector and tourist draws in cooperation with Germany, Norway, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Australia and Italy.

Myanmar is implementing the Tourism Master Plan with the financial aid of about 500 million USD which is offered by Norway and the ADB. The ministry will expand its tourist destinations to the coastal regions and the national races regions in addition to its popular destinations—Bagan, Inlay, MraukU and Yangon.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Numbers of visitors exceeds 3 million

More than three million tourists visited Myanmar in 2014, which is more than the number predicted by the Hotel and Tourism Ministry.

The ministry expected at least three million tourists to visit in 2014.

“It is slightly more than the estimated number. But we are working to confirm the exact number,” a spokesperson from the ministry said.

Myanmar’s revenue from tourism is expected to have reached US$1 billion in 2014.

Of the more than 3 million visitors, 70 per cent were from Asia, and the rest were from the West, Africa and Middle East.

Meanwhile, the ministry estimates that four to five million tourists will visit in 2015, and it is also planning to expand tourism infrastructure in Bagan, Inlay, Myauk-U and various beaches.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar extends eVisa

Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration and Population officially included another 32 nationalities that are now eligible for an eVisa, effective 2 January, 2015.

They join a list of 68 countries that were eligible for eVisas when the scheme rolled out 1 September 2014.

The eVisa costs USD50 paid for by Visa or American Express, but applicants should be aware there are other web services that compete for attention; one paying Google to have a top ranking (

They have similar internet addresses that could give applicants the impression they are contacting the official website for eVisas. Fees charged by the sites are much higher possibly exceeding USD100.

The official site is, while information on restricted no-go areas can be found at

Also, effective 2 January, the eVisa is now available for travellers entering the country at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw airports (first point of entry).

This is particularly useful for travellers flying to Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw directly from Bangkok and Singapore.

Despite assurances by the Myanmar government last year, not all ASEAN citizens are eligible for visa-free entry for up to 14 days.

That privilege is available to citizens of Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Surprisingly, the big three investment countries for Myanmar (Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia) are not on the visa-free list.

According to the ASEAN charter all member countries are expected to offer visa-free travel to citizens of the 10 member bloc. Myanmar is the last country to comply with that requirement and it was thought it would introduce visa-free travel across ASEAN before it relinquishes the ASEAN chair at the end of January. That is now unlikely.

Travellers applying for an eVisa, must complete the online form, provide a 4.8 cm x 3.8 cm colour photo that can be attached to the online file and have a valid passport of more than six months.

They have to identify they are staying in a registered hotel, or guesthouse, to meet visa conditions and the visa is limited to tourism purposes excluding business, event or seminar related trips. This is again counter productive for a country that is keen to attract quality visitors. Business tourism is a top earner with much higher daily spend than registered by leisure travellers.

Once the online process is approved the applicant receives an approval letter that is valid for just 90 days and must be presented to immigration officials at the first point of entry.

An eVisa is valid for a stay of just 28 days and cannot be extended.

An application is confirmed within one hour of filing online and it usually takes three days for the ministry to email the confirmation or rejection. Fees are non-refundable, whatever the outcome.

The following 32 countries were added to Myanmar’s eVisa facility list 2 January 2015:

  1. Albania                 17.   Iceland
  2. Algeria                  18.   Jamaica
  3. Belarus                 19.   Jordan
  4. Bhutan                 20.   Kazakhstan
  5. Bolivia                  21.   Kenya
  6. Bosnia                  22.   Kyrgyzstan
  7. Cameroon            23.   Maldive
  8. Costa Rica           24.   Mauritius
  9. Côte d’Ivoire       25.   Monaco
  10. Ecuador               26.   Morocco
  11. Eritrea                 27.   Qatar
  12. Fiji                        28.   South Africa
  13. Georgia                29.   Uganda
  14. Ghana                  30.   Ukraine
  15. Guatemala          31.   Uruguay
  16. Guinea                 32.   Uzbekistan

Original list of 68 countries and Taiwan that eligible to apply eVisa:

1. Argentina 35. Latvia
2. Australia 36. Lithuania
3. Austria 37. Luxembourg
4. Bangladesh 38. Malaysia
5. Belgium 39. Malta
6. Brazil 40. Mexico
7. Brunei 41. Mongolia
8. Bulgaria 42. Nepal
9. Cambodia 43. Netherlands
10. Canada 44. New Zeland
11. Chile 45. Norway
12. China 46. Pakistan
13. Colombia 47. Panama
14. Croatia 48. Peru
15. Cyprus 49. Philippines
16. CZECH 50. Poland
17. Denmark 51. Portugal
18. Egypt 52. Romania
19. Estonia 53. Russia
20. Finland 54. Saudi Arabia
21. France 55. Serbia
22. Germany 56. Singapore
23. Greece 57. Slovakia
24. Hungary 58. Slovenia
25. India 59. Spain
26. Indonesia 60. Sri lanka
27. Ireland 61. Sweden
28. Israel 62. Switzerland
29. Italy 63. Thailand
30. Japan 64. Turkey
31. Korea, DPR 65. United Kingdom
32. Korea, Republic 66. United States of America
33. Kuwait 67. Venezuela
34. Laos 68. Vietnam

Source : TTR Weekly