Visa on Arrival Yangon AirportVisas on arrival at Yangon Airport
The Yangon International Airport
It was once considered the best and most advanced airport in Southeast Asia. While the old airport kiosk is used solely for internal services, the new kiosk, which has been in service since May 2007, operates internationally. The airport's total airport throughput was increased to 6 million at the beginning of 2016, but this is still not enough.
In 1947, the airport was erected on the former RAF Mingaladon airport by the Calcutta Metropolitan Airports Authority. The airport was once considered the best airport in Southeast Asia and the most important airport in this area. Created by the Airport Development Division of CPG Corporation of Singapore and build by Asia World, a major Burma-based building contractor, the new passenger handling facility can accommodate 900 arrivals and 900 departures at the same time.
During 2013, a syndicate under the leadership of an Asia World subsidiary was contracted to modernize Yangon Airport to meet the growing demand for passenger and flight services. This order comprises a new German airport gateway and the extension of the airport area. With an annual capacity of 2.7 million passenger movements, the airport carried 800,000 foreign and 1.2 million national travellers in 2006.
Yangon operates all ten Burma airline companies and about 20 multinational companies from Yangon World. And in June 2011, the German federal authorities pledged to boost the airport's passenger volume by 40 percent from 2.7 million to 3.8 million a year. It already has an airport passenger volume of 2.7 million a year, after accepting 3.1 million in 2012 and 4 million in 2014.
In order to meet this demand, new interna-tional and intercontinental terminal facilities are being built, which are scheduled for completion by the end of 2015. Following the modernization, Yangon Airport will be able to serve 6 million travellers a year.
A new entry visa could have an effect on tourists
A sudden amendment to the pre-arranged visa regulations for all-inclusive travelers has shocked Myanmar's travelling professionals, who say the ruling will have a detrimental effect on the country's tourist sector. At the beginning of March, the Ministry of Immigration and Population abruptly announces that the previously agreed upon Visa on Arrival (VOA) will immediately be restricted to packages of 10 or less as well.
Myanmar's Director-General U Maung Maung Than said to the Myanmar Times last weeks that the amendment was made to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-laws. In the affirmative, U Maung Maung Maung Than said the department plans to introduce an e-visa system by the end of the year.
On May 1, 2010, the Ministry's Department of Immigration and National Registration launched the VOA system in Myanmar, a step celebrated as a major leap forward for the tourist sector. This was the first year in which it was possible for non-German travellers to obtain a visa for entry at Yangon and Mandalay airport without having to obtain a flight-journal.
However, the programme was abandoned on September 1, just two month before the first parliamentary elections in Myanmar in years. Pre-arranged touristic visa was also permitted for packages, although the number of persons in each group was not limited. Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) Chair U Wai Yar Zar said officials from local government agencies, the Ministry of Hotels and tourism and the Ministry of Immigration met at the Panda Hotel last weekend to consider ways to reduce the number of groups that could be considered for a pre-arranged VOA.
"The Department of Homeland Affairs said that migration plays a major part in the safety of the state. "It makes good business to end the prepared VOA programme when all prospective Myanmar e-Visa users are available. Touristicians said that the changes in rules that limit the group size for a pre-defined VOA would adversely affect Myanmar's reputation as a travel location.
Khiri Travel Yangon's General Director Edwin Briels said Myanmar's visa policy had resulted in his business having received cancellation from customers from Argentina, Dubai, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Ireland, some of whom were already on their way to Southeast Asia. "They have all canceled their trips to Myanmar because they had no visa application process at an Myanmar visa office or because they could not for a long period of undocumented activity use their passports abroad to obtain a visa," said Mr Briels.
"Some US customers who tried to submit an application to the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore were rejected because the Singapore Consulate only receives applicants from Singaporeans," he said. Seven Star Travel and Tour CEO Daw Phyu Phyu Mar agrees that the abrupt limit on VOA group size is a retrograde move for the tourist sector.
"We are just beginning to see a gold-plated tourist age in Myanmar and we have gained a good reputation around the globe.