Burma receives major growth in tourism due to flights and e visas

Burma Receives Major Growth in Tourism
The year 2014 saw 1.5 million more tourists coming to Burma (Myanmar) as compared to 2013, which was almost representing a 30% increase. The major driving force behind the inflow of travelers to Burma seems to be the relinquished power of the military junta and the steady rise of a normal civilian government in the year 2011.

Earlier, the opposition leader of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD had dissuaded tourists, saying that too much money went to the junta's coffers. However, since May 2011, the National League for Democracy, in a statement asked for responsible tourism in Burma. According to this statement, the NLD invites visitors who are enthusiastic about advocating the welfare of the common man and in conserving the environment. These tourists while vacationing in Burma would acquire a greater insight into the political, cultural and social life of the nation. 

For the first time in 2012, over 1million visitors came to Burma. The tourism industry got a benefit of 534 million dollars. In 2013, the number of visitors rose to 2.04 million and their expenses amounted to 926 million dollars. Finally, in 2014, the tourist count was 3.5 million, with the country earning an estimated 1.135 billion dollars.

Towards the end of 2012, the Burmese government in conjunction with the Asian Development Bank, came up with a tourism master plan from 2013 till 2020. Based on the number of tourists visiting Burma in 2014, the numbers will exceed the estimated figures in the coming years. The two factors responsible for this are the rise in the number of flights from Yangon to Burma, totaling 12-14 flights and introduction of e-visa facility from 1 September, 2014. The e-visas permit citizens of 67 nations to apply online. So far, a total of 40,000 such visas have been issue till December end of 2014.

The major faction of tourists arriving at Burma comprised of 67% Asian tourists from China, Thailand and Japan. Almost 60-70% comprised flexible independent travelers or FITs as opposed to the usual norm of packaged tourists. 2016 is slated to be the 'Visit Myanmar Year'.

Posted On : 13 January,2015