MYANMAR attracted a record 4.2 million visitors in 2015, with at least 800,000 entering the country by air and ship, and over 2.2 million through border checkpoints, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
In Yangon alone, over 1 million arrivals were recorded, a 13.1 per cent increase from 2014. About 815,949 of the total were from Asian countries and 171,544 from Europe. Thailand, as usual, led the way with 160,852 visitors, followed by China (99,821), Japan (86,491) and South Korea (62,306).
Visitor arrivals also hiked in other destinations such as Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake. Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, received 306,432 visitors in 2015, up 26 per cent from 2014.
Aung Myat Kyaw, vice chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF), opined that the recent political landscape has encouraged more tourists to visit Myanmar. “The overall growth is about 20 per cent year-on-year. I’m sure we will see more arrivals in 2016 and 2017,” he said.
New hotels are also sprouting up across the country to accommodate the increasing number of tourists, stated U Tin Win, chairman of Myanmar Hotelier Association. He said a total of 340 hotels opened in 2015, while 290 opened in 2014.
Tourist arrivals are projected to hit 7.49 million in 2020.