Monthly Archives: February 2016

Backpacking on the rise in Nyaungshwe, Inle

According to the Nyaungshwe branch of the Myanmar Tour Guide Association (MTGA), the number of individual tourists visiting Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake in Shan State has been steadily rising.

“Lately, the foreign individual tourist (FIT) market is thriving because of easier communication and access. There has been no decrease in the number of tourists here on package tours. Age differences is one of the key factors,” said Sai Win, chair of the MTGA.

Most tour guides have said the demographic of foreign tourists who make up the FIT market are young, adventurous and usually alone, while those here on package tours tend to be middle-aged or older and prefer learn about the history and culture of the region.

Costs matter a lot more to backpackers, and they prefer to stay at small motels or guests houses and to eat at roadside stalls.

A total of 130,715 tourists visited Nyaungshwe in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and 89,169 tourists have come during the 2015-2016 fiscal year up to December.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Inle Lake draws steady stream of tourists

SINCE it was designated as Myanmar’s first biosphere reserve and as a natural world heritage site in 2013, Inle Lake has drawn more attention from international tourists, seeing increasing tourist arrivals year after year.

Official statistics showed that Inle Lake, during the period from April to December in the previous two years, welcomed 79,678 visitors in 2014 and 141,789 in 2015.

There are 78 hotels and motels in and around Inle Lake, creating job opportunities for local people, said U Sai Win of the Inle Speaks Community Skills Development Centre.

A total of 300 local guides have been trained, he added.

With an increase in the number of visitors, there has been an increase in the use of motorised boats, which can reduce oxygen levels in the lake, creating an environmental concern that birds and fish living in the lake are likely to move to other places, said U Sein Tun, an official from the Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary Department.

Partnership for Change, a Norway-based organisation, is devising a way to reduce noise produced by the motorised boats by 50 per cent.

In accordance with the country’s Tourism Master Plan, which encourages sustainability in the tourism sector, human resources development and environmental conservation, efforts are being made to improve ecotourism around Inle Lake.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar’s tourism up 50%

Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism estimates the country attracted 4.68 million international tourists in 2015, a 51.95% increase from 3.08 million in 2014.

The Irrawaddy media reported the ministry had earlier set a goal of between 4.5 to 5 million tourists for the year.

However, industry observers have routinely questioned the government’s figures, which tally arrivals at land, sea and air entry points. The major share of travellers cross at overland checkpoints with Thailand. The popular checkpoints are Tachileik, Shan State and Karen State’s Myawaddy. There has also been an increase in overland visits from China.

In a contradictory report, Global New Light of Myanmar claimed that more than 800,000 tourists entered Myanmar via airports and seaports, last year, while more than 2.2 million entered at overland checkpoints.

It has not be clarified whether the overland count is based on foreign passport holders, or also includes those who travel on border passes using their ID cards as proof of identity. It if is the latter then the arrivals are filled out with traders.

Tourist arrivals were highest in Yangon, Mandalay, Inle and Bagan.

The majority of foreign tourists come from China, Thailand, France, Germany and the United States, the government media added.

According to the ministry’s Master Plan for 2013 to 2020, arrivals are projected to hit 7.49 million in 2020.

Myanmar attracted USD2.64 billion in foreign investment in 47 projects in the hotels and tourism sector in 2015, up USD1.5 billion from 2011’s USD1.14 billion in 36 projects.

Of the total foreign investment in the sector in 2015, Singapore accounted for USD1.47 billion, the highest among any country, followed by Vietnam with USD440 million.

The number of tourism companies in the country rose from 1,670 in 2014 to 1,922 today. Of them, 1,822 are locally owned.

A total of 340 hotels were operating in Myanmar in 2015, compared to 290 in 2014.

Source : TTR Weekly