Myanmar National Airlines hops on twin-destination drive

Combining Angkor Wat (pictured) and Bagan in the same itinerary

An application to run flights lining world heritage sites in Myanmar and Cambodia has been lodged as part of a bid to boost tourism.

Myanmar National Airlines has applied for a licence as part of a cross-country drive to twin World Heritage sites Bagan and Angkor Wat. The move comes after an MoU between the two countries was signed last month and a “two countries, one destination” campaign was launched.

Combining Angkor Wat (pictured) and Bagan in the same itinerary

Bertie Lawson, managing director of Sampan Travel in Myanmar, said the connection would offer travellers “greater freedom and flexibility”. However, he pointed out that an increasing number of young travellers are entering Myanmar via land, while senior travellers to the country tend to plan a single destination holiday.

EXO Cambodia product manager Coralie Romano said culture and heritage tours bring “high-value” tourists, making the move attractive.

However, should the campaign bring the expected tourist boom, Lawson says it needs to be sensitively managed. Angkor Wat is expected to welcome 3.5 million visitors this year and Bagan 350,000.

Said Lawson: “Perhaps the most special thing about Bagan is how one can still explore it and get the sense of being alone amongst the temples. If this quality is threatened by the new flight, we will have to think carefully about how we can help our guests experience such a sense, either in Bagan or other destinations in Myanmar.”

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