Myanmar jubilant as Asian arrivals swell

Uptrend in part due to visa relaxation policies

After seeing a staggering 109 per cent increase in visitors from Asia in 2017 over 2016, Myanmar has pledged to pump up its marketing efforts in the region going ahead.

Myanmar minister of hotels and tourism, Ohn Maung, said a visa waiver that has been in place for almost a year to the majority of South-east Asian citizens has led to a 13 per cent year-on-year increase in arrivals from the nations at Yangon International Airport.

Uptrend in part due to visa relaxation policies

Vietnam arrivals saw the largest increase at 75 per cent, followed by the Philippines (+62 per cent) and Singapore (+20 per cent). China and Thailand remained the top source markets, contributing more than 230,000 and 140,000 visitors respectively in 2017.

Ohn flagged up target markets such as Japan, China, India and South-east Asian countries. “We see these are the markets the growth is coming from at the moment,” he expained.

Thomas Carnevale, managing director of Asia Trails Tour Myanmar, noted a rise in enquiries to the country from the Asian market, especially with short stays and last-minute trips.

He also noted a jump in the number of Asian customers following the company on social media channels, with the main markets being the Philippines, Indonesia and Indochina region.

Cinn Tan, chief sales and marketing officer of Pan Pacific Hotels Group, which operates Pan Pacific Yangon, Parkroyal Yangon and Parkroyal Nay Pyi Taw, said Asia as a market is becoming increasingly important, with a rise in Thais taking annual pilgrimages to the country’s temples. More Indians and Chinese are visiting Myanmar to explore business opportunities.

While Asia will be a strong focus, Ohn said they aim to see an increase in Western tourists. This is being achieved through social media campaigns and a series of fam trips.

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