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Country Basic Facts

 

TOURISM

Tourism in Myanmar is seasonal. High season starts from October to March when the weather is cool and pleasant all over the country. Although April is hot and humid, the Water Festival celebrated between 13 to 16 of each year is one of the most joyous occasions and is a must for tourists who do not mind getting wet. Even during the monsoon season (mid-May till early October), an increasing number of tourists are visiting Myanmar as the rain is heavy only along the coastal areas and lower Myanmar.

Traditionally, Myanmar tourism is based on culture. Myanmar with its long history, culture and religion has many pagodas, temples and monuments all over the country. In addition, Myanmar is also blessed by nature with natural attractions. There are snow-capped mountains, deep forests, cool and scenic places, long rivers, beautiful lakes and many unspoiled beaches and archipelagos. The different national races and their way of life, traditional arts and crafts offer exotic vistas of the nation while the warm hospitality of the Myanmar people is world-renown.

Yangon is no longer the only gateway. Travel by overland is allowed through Check Points along Myanmar-Yunan (China) and Myanmar-Thai Borders. Border tourism is growing steadily and there are enormous potentials for growth. Plans are being made to link Myanmar, China, Laos and Thailand marking a Golden Quadrangular Tour. There are three ways to link the four cultural sites either by overland route or by air or by river. The majestic Mekong River plays an vital role in linking the four countries. Mandalay, Bagan, Heho, Kengtung and Mawlamyaing have been opened to Charter Flights from Chiang-mai and Chiang-rai. Presently, Bangkok Airways and Thai Flying Service are operating scheduled charter flights to these sites. Air Mandalay also links Chiang-mai with Yangon and Mandalay. Of late, Yangon has become a popular port of call for Cruise Ships.

 

Under the new economic reforms the government has promulgated the Tourism Law in June 1990. By this Law, tourism industry is open up to private sector participation and foreign investment and thus a number of hotel projects are being implemented. Presently, there are 8 State owned hotels with 477 rooms and 110 private owned Hotels, Motels, Inns and Lodgings with 1527 rooms in Yangon. In the country as a whole, there are 249 hotels with 5411 rooms, including private sector.

Since early 1989 the government has liberalized its policy on visa and begin to open up gradually. Entry visa formalities have also been relaxed and simplified. All types of visa can be obtained easily at Myanmar Missions abroad and can be extended up to 28 days. Visas on arrival can also be made available for package Tour-Groups. Under present regulations, foreign individuals are required to exchange US$ 300 into local currency (Kyat). However, for convenience, the Central Bank of Myanmar has issued Foreign Exchange Certificates (FECs) in dollar units which can be freely exchanged within the country. Payment in FECs are deemed to have been made in foreign exchange and are accepted at hotels, travel agencies, airlines and private shops.

With the liberalization of visas and infrastructural development in tourist industries, visitor arrivals increased rapidly from 26,000 in 1992-93 to over 61,000 in 1993-94. This includes areas of the border traffic which totaled over 100,000. Visitor arrivals in 1994-95 is expected to be over 100,000.

The main market is Western Europe accounting for about 60% of the total arrivals. Asians are mainly business travelers but it is a potential market with the opening up of business and investment opportunities. By nationality, Germans (12%), French (11%), Italians (10%), British (9%), Americans (9%) and Japanese (7%) made up the most.

The four main tourist centres in Myanmar are the capital Yangon, Mandalay, the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom and the cultural centre of the country, Bagan the richest archaeological site in Myanmar and Inle Lake, where people row by their legs.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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