Monthly Archives: February 2015

4.5 million tourists expected in 2015

According to Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, 4.5 million tourists and US$2 billion in revenueare expected to enter the country in 2015.
In 2014,an all-time high of over 3 million tourists entered Myanmar, bringing in more than US$1 billion in revenue.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has been busy enlarging travel zones and making other infrastructural improvement to help tourists. The ministry has also been reducing regulations on local and foreign businesses seeking to enter the tourism sector, said Myo Win Nyunt, a director at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Tourist entrance into Myanmar has increased began rising sharply in 2011.In 2013, over two million tourists entered, said the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Government officials from Myanmar held discussions withcounterparts from Thailand,where the tourism sector is well developed, in December 2014 to discuss tourism development projects. The government has also been developing the tourism sector in conjunction with Germany, Norway, the Asian Development Bank, Japan, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Australia and Italy.
The Myanmar Tourism Master Plan is currently being implemented with US$500 million provided by Norway and the Asian Development Bank.
The World Tourism Organisation reported that global tourism rose by 4.5 per cent in 2014.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Bagan security must be tightened, says tourism boss

Bagan, Myanmar’s major tourist destination, expected to welcome more than 300,000 visitors this fiscal year, said Hnoun Hnoun Han, the general secretary of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, adding that security at the site needed to be stepped up.

The visitor numbers to Bagan and Nyaung-U have been rising since 2012, figures show.

“Bagan is a prestigious site for Myanmar. It has few equals in all of Southeast Asia. It is yet to be listed as a [Unesco] World Heritage site for some reason but now there are efforts to make that happen,” said Hnoun Hnoun Han, adding that the Shwedagon Pagoda and Bagan were must-see destinations for all international visitors.

The entry fee for foreigners to the city, which has around 2,200 surviving temples and pagodas built by various kings, has recently been raised from US$15 to $20.

“The city should be better preserved than it is now, especially its security [which should be stricter],” said the general secretary.

The peak season for Bagan is usually from October to March.

Lonely Planet named Bagan the place to visit in 2015 and it received celebrity couple Beyonce and Jay-Z in December.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

e-visa to apply to overland travel

Myanmar’s e-Visa facility will be extended to cover four checkpoints on the border with Thailand, in the near future, a reliable source close to the service provider told TTR Weekly.

Myanmar’s minister of Immigration and Police, Khin Yi, visited the e-Visa booth, Wednesday, on an inspection tour of ATF’s TRAVEX.

TTR Weekly asked the minister if the e-Visa would be extended to cover business visitors, particularly MICE visitors in the near future.

He was non-committal, but noted that the present rules allowed business visitors to apply for a visa-on-arrival at the country’s three international airports.

Some airlines are reluctant to accept travellers who have only an invitation letter to support their claim  that they are eligible for a visa-on-arrival.

Airlines recommend that business visitors obtain a visa in advance from the nearest embassy.

However, the Minister of Immigration and Police stated that he recommended business travellers to apply for a visa-on-arrival saying that was the most convenient way.

He declined to elaborate on whether visitors attending conventions or exhibitions would be eligible to apply for e-Visas in the future.

It is understood the long-term objective is to offer travellers the e-Visa option for almost all categories of travel.

The four overland border checkpoints that will be valid for e-Visa entry have yet to be announced, but it is understood they would include Thakilek (Mae Sai), Myawaddy (Mae Sot) and Kawthoung (Ranong).

The e-Visa is valid for entry at three international airports; Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. It costs USD50 using a credit card (Mastercard, Visa or American Express).

Source : TTR Weekly

3 firms get permits to operate hotel businesses

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has granted permits to three local companies to operate hotel businesses in Nay Pyi Taw, Kayin and Rakhine regions.

The three local companies are Max (Myanmar) Hotel Co Ltd to operate hotel servicing business in Nay Pyi Taw, Snow Diamond Co Ltd in Hpa-an Township, Kayin State, and Eden Hotels and Resort Co Ltd in Thandwe Towship, Rakhine State.

The permits were granted during the MIC meeting held on January 16 and the three companies will operate as local investment firms.

The number of licensed hotels, motels and guest houses in the country by the end of October 2014 is 1,076 – 37 with 1,153 rooms in Rakhine State and nine with 284 rooms in Kayin State, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

According to Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, local business people’s investment volume in hotels and tourism sector is more than US$667 million.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

30,000 tourists use E-Visa within four months of launch

Within four months of the launch of the E-Visa system, more than 30,000 foreign travellers entered Myanmar, most of them from the US, followed by Britain and Japan.

The E-Visa system, which allows tourists to secure temporary visas online, was launched on September 1, 2014, for 41 countries, most of which were in Asia. On October 2, 27 more countries were included in the program, including several European countries.

On January 5, 2015, 32 more countries were added, including Kenya, Jordan, Monaco, Morocco, Ecuador, Qatar, and South Africa. Thus, the number of countries whose citizens can use the E-Visa system exceeds 100.

“From first of September, 2014, when the E-Visa system started, until end of December, 31,370 tourists from different countries have used the system, mostly from the US,” said an official from Yangon International Airport’s Immigration Department.

Tourists can enter Myanmar using the E-Visa system at Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay international airports.

Business visas and social visas for foreigners will be permitted through the E-Visa system if it proves to be a success for tourist visas.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Yangon airport handles 1 million visitors

Ministry of Immigration and Population says over 1 million international tourists entered Myanmar through Yangon International Airport last year.

The Eleven Myanmar news channel reported the airport processed 1,027,770 foreign visitors in 2014, of which 165,660 were Thai. These figures exceed the number of visitors who used the airport in 2013.

Thailand has topped the list of points of origin for Myanmar-bound visitors for the last two years, it said.

Meanwhile, China was the second biggest source and Japan ranked third.

However, the report did not offer details or percentage growth.

The e-Visa system was launched at Yangon International Airport in September last year. It costs USD50 deducted automatically from a credit card while confirmation takes another five days in the form of an email that travellers must print out and present on arrival at Yangon airport to gain the entry stamp in their passport.

The visas are restricted to tourists with a maximum stay of 28 days. They are valid for use for up to 90 days from the date of issue.

Business visas can only be obtained through embassies, or on arrival at the airport. For the second option, they are pre-processed, based on an invitation letter and other documents that are screened by immigration officials in advance. Once approved, the visa is stamped in the passport on arrival at Yangon’s airport.

Source : TTR Weekly

Myanmar mulls night markets

Myanmar Restaurant Entrepreneurs Association plans to upgrade the Inle Night Market, a tourist attractions located in the northern Shan State.

Work should begin this month, but first discussions will be needed to win the support of local residents and to explain the benefits of upgrading the market.

Eleven Myanmar news channel quoted the association’s Inle Zone chairman, Myo Min Zaw, as saying the market needed to be improved because foreign tourists visited it. However, critics of tourism policy that fails to appreciate local needs suggest the market should be improved for its main users and the vendors.

At present, Inle Night Market has only 10 shops that open at 2230. Plans are underway to add restaurants, as well as souvenir shops and regional product shops.

The Inle area caters to mainly local visitors, although there has been an increase in foreign visitors. Promoters claim shops should expand to create more job opportunities for locals and attract foreign tourist revenue.

In addition, there are plans to build a night market in Yangon to attract tourists. Meetings with authorities are ongoing to choose the right site.

The chairman said: “A place for the night market is not fixed yet. My choice would be an area on Strand Road.”

“I have seen riverside roads designated for night markets in other countries. Vendors bring in their own vehicles adapted to sell produce. If the night market is set up on Strand Road, it will attract more tourists and if we plan it correctly the vendors can keep the area clean,” he added.

Source : TTR Weekly

Friendship bridge links Laos and Myanmar

The Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge should open this March linking National Road 17 in Laos with National Road 4 in Myanmar.

It has taken 20 months to construct the bridge.

The bridge begins at Huaykoum village 15 km north of Xiengkok village in Long district, Laos. On the Myanmar side stands Kainglap village in Thakhilek district, Shan State.

The bridge is 691.8 metres long and 10.9 metres wide with two vehicle lanes and two sidewalks that will not be used for pedestrian or cycle traffic. Both activities are forbidden at all “friendship” bridges.

The bridge is designed to carry semi-trailers weighing up to 75 tonnes and can withstand earthquakes of up to 7.0 magnitude.

Built at a cost of USD18 million it is the only bridge spanning the two countries across the Mekong River.

Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge Construction Project superviser, Xaysongkham Manotham, told local media that construction is now 93% complete.

Source : TTR Weekly