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Burma tourist industry in 2012: Looking back on a year of records
Myanmar was a tourist destination with a new year of records - according to the Ministry of Hotels and tourism, the country drew more than one million people. The vast bulk of Yangon's internationals arrived. Mandalay, Bagan and Nay Pyi Taw were other important destinations with a population of 33,771 people.
Travelers from Thailand, China and India can enter the country - the number of people arriving in this catagory was 465,614. Myanmar is now an attractive tourist destinations not only for travelling but also for investments, especially in the tourist industry, with the continued lifting of global penalties and travelling booycotts in appreciation of policy-reform.
The number of tourists arriving in 2013 is estimated to grow by about 30 per cent, after a similar growth in 2012, according to industrial resources. Whilst the Asiatic markets are likely to provide the bulk of supplies to the vast majority arrivals, the increasing global reputation of the destination will lead to a constant growth in the number of travelers from the West.
Aung Myat Kyaw, president of Orchestra Travel and consultant to the Myanmar Marketing Committee, said next season's economic expansion will definitely go ahead. "Overall, the number of visitors to Asia and America has increased compared to Europeans.
Very few US citizens came in the past because of embargoes," he said. "Provided the reform continues and there is a degree of mutual respect and prosperity, the economy will definitely keep growing. Burma has had 554,531 international visits to Yangon alone in 2012, an 54% rise over 2011, according to MOTOR.
The number of arrivals of Asiatic citizens was 347,241, more than 62% of the population. Myanmar has 787 licenced properties and around 28,000 rooms, according to the MHT. At the beginning of this year, the Department of Tourism and Tourism of Myanmar announces that it will expand the number of areas in Myanmar, and so far 11 have been set up in the most favoured tourism areas, with several more areas to be added in the near-term.
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has put historical state houses in the heart of Yangon out to bid to reduce the lack of rooms in the town. The MIC has asked both domestic and international businesses to submit offers for the transformation into long leased accommodation.
And we also need to know how much money is available in Myanmar. In 2006, five Ngwe Saung beaches were shut down for lack of tourist attractions, but all are getting ready to re-open this year. There are other regional establishments that are also extending their capacities and carrying out renovation work as part of a joint offer to offer adequate accommodations during the 2013 Southeast Asia Games, which will take place in Yangon in December.
When the modernisation work is complete, the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism estimates that 840 rooms will be available. Enormous air travel industry expansion in 2012 is likely to persist into 2013 as global and national airlines further develop their activities in Myanmar to meet the increasing arrival of corporate and tourist travellers.
Myanmar, however, is still one of the least popular tourist destination in Asia. Luckily, at last it is being noticed by global hauliers. Eight airlines have started non-stop services to Myanmar since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won the groundbreaking by-election last April. In 2013, the German airline industry is also expected to grow strongly, as the six current full-service airlines want to benefit from the increasing demands.
Myanmar's first low-cost airline, Golden Myanmar Airlines, was launched on January 11. From Mandalay, Golden Myanmar Airlines also intends to extend its air networks to Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The Centre for aviation (CAPA) reports that Myanmar's global air transport industry currently holds around 81,000 seat ings per week, with more than 75,000 passing through Yangon Airport and around 5,500 arrivals at Mandalay Airport .
In April 2012, the overall number of seating places per week was 49,000 in Yangon and 2000 in Mandalay. Last October Thai AirAsia launched four flight per week from Bangkok to Mandalay and on January 11th the flight schedule was changed to four per day scheduled flight connections. In Bangkok Airways, the airline has announced four flight schedules per week starting in September, while Thai Airways is also considering operating the Mandalay flight through its Thai Airways local group.
Burmese airlines are also stepping up their activities. Last November Myanmar Airways International started three times a week to Gaya in India. Myanmar's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is expected to convert Yangon International Airport, double its annual passenger traffic from 2.7 million to 5.5 million.
From the DCA the number of air travelers crossing through the terminal was likely to increase by 20-23pc each year for the next four years, finally attaining 5. 5 million. The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in June 2012 asked domestic and international investment to resume the Hanthawaddy International Airfield interrupted in October 2003.
It will be able to accommodate 10 million people a year - well above Yangon International Airport's present and planned capacities. The DCA also prequalified seven consortia in December 2011 for a Mandalay International Airports operation and development work. Visas have been relaxed so that most travelers, meeting and workshops participants and those in transit can obtain visas upon arriving at Yangon and Mandalay international airports.
The Immigration Ministry said the federal administration is planning to extend the VOA authorization to another 22 states. Any visitor, regardless of his or her country, entering Myanmar Airways International from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Guangzhou can obtain a visitor's permit upon arriving at Yangon Aiport. Visas are subject to different charges.
For a 70-day corporate and 28-day meeting, workshop and event travel visas, the cost is $40. For a 24-hour transiting permit it is US$20. For more information about the VOA and the request forms, please contact the migration office or any of the airlines flying to Myanmar. You can also go to the Ministry's website (www.mip.gov.mm/visaonarrival).