Burma Myanmar Tourism

Myanmar Tourism

Tourist Shun Myanmar in the sign of the Rakhine crisis TANDALAY - Although Myanmar is in the high tourist seasons, travel agencies and industrial officers have announced a decline in visitor numbers due to the recent dispute in the state of Myanmar. United Thet Lwin Toe, Chairman of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association (UMTA), said some travel bookings - especially to Ngapali Beach in Nakhine - were canceled after the recent violent events in the city.

Following the self-identifying Rohingya fighters' attack on August 25th on 30 policemen in North Rakhine, Myanmar's army started a repression that drove more than 500,000 Muslims to Bangladesh. Stories of rapes and murders by members of the safety force are widespread among the returnees, while Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the group behind the August 25th attack, was also charged with murdering civilians. 12 people were killed.

Mr U Tint Lwin, General Manager of the Hotel and Tourist Board, said the word of the riots had frightened the tourist and affected the entire tourist world. "There are fears that[tourists] may suffer a major act of terrorism or have difficulties travelling in the country," said U Tint Lwin. Rakhine' s travel agents report that the number of people visiting the region's renowned sights has fallen significantly.

"The number of visitors has halved in comparison to the previous year," says Ma Moh, a travel agent from the oldrakanese capitol Mrauk-U. Travel agencies across the nation have announced a collapse in trade. Bagan, one of Myanmar's major tourist destinations, has been cancelled. There were few independant visitors from these lands in comparison to last year," said Daw Maw Maw, a Bagan itinerary.

Hotel owners and travel agents are looking for some kind of stabilization and tranquillity in Rakhine and the neighbouring area. This has influenced not only the tourist but also the safety of the whole state. "Although the impact on the tourist sector is not very great, we are still concerned about our own safety, as the authorities have said there may be acts of terrorism in major cities," said U Myint Lwin, a Mandalay hotel owner.

"However, we sincerely trust that there will soon be a peaceful and stable state in Rakhine. And we also expect more people to come to our land before the end of the high season," he added. The Ministry of Hotel and Tourism reported that 2.9 million people were visiting the state in 2016.

Over 3.5 million visitors were forecast for 2017, with some 2.27 million visitors from January to August this year.

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