Myanmar Tourism Safety

Burma Tourism Security

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Myanmar's tourism is not blocked by violent repression by rakine

Although there has been a setback in the hope of tourism development in the state of Rakhine as the collisions last months have led to the removal of package holidays in the conflict-torn area, the tourism sector has seen little or no negative impact on the whole state. The trip to Ngapali, for example, does not seem to be affected. Ngapali Beach Pleasant View Spokesman said 80% of the room was reserved from November to the first weekend of January.

Many tour operators, however, have canceled scheduled trips to other parts of the state following an eruption of hostilities in the area in October, killing 87 more. "There was no formal announcement[from the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism]. However, everyone knows that tourism there will not be secure in this predicament, so[companies] have called off programs," said U Khin Maung Htun, a Myanmar Tourism Federation executive.

Khin Maung Htun said the attack came just after the local authorities asked for help from the association to support tourism in the region. Said the association was asked to prepare tourism promotion projects in Sittwe, Mrauk-Oo, Thandwe (Ngapali), Munaung, Ramree and Kyaukpyu. "It will be hard to evolve tourism in this context, but we will continue when things become steady and we can ensure security," he added.

Rendez-Vous International Travel's U Soe Myint said his firm no longer offers packages for Rakhine State, despite many tourist enquiries. In September, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism limited the trip to Mrauk-Oo, Sittwe and elsewhere, but in October, shortly before the recent eruption of force, it removed the restrictions.

"At the beginning of this monthly we began to get e-mails from some of our agents published by their German, Swiss and UK government. We' re keeping prospective travellers up to date as the final player is the customer," says U Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, CEO of All Asia Exclusive Travels.

"It will take at least a year for travel agents to be convinced that they will travel to the state of Rakhine once the picture returns to normal," he said. Said that some of his customers who are worried about their safety have canceled travel to the state of Rakhine and other areas of Myanmar should be transported in their place.

"We are now faced with the challenge of finding alternatives, but this is quite challenging due to the restricted infrastructures, such as hotel and internal flights," he said. Said the situa-tion would not lead to a decline in the number of arrivals, as only a few thousand visitors come to Sittwe and Mrauk Oo each year.

"This is nothing new for Myanmar's tourism sector.... we should not be panicking and making too much ado about this one. Quite the opposite, we should be monitoring the state of affairs and informing customers of the real facts in good time and directing our effort towards reviving the[Rakhine State as a] goal as soon as it has normalized," he added.

Myanmar Voyage Travel and Tours CEO U Thet Lwin Toh said the airline was worried that customers, particularly from Russia, would be canceling parcels with Ngapali, although the seaside resort was not affected by the outbreak. "So far we have no cancellation due to the Rakhine situa-tion.

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