Yangon International Airport has started accepting commercial international flights from April 17 as Myanmar re-opens its borders to international travellers.
Travellers must apply for an e-visa and purchase Myanmar Covid-19 health insurance for entry into the country. Fully vaccinated travellers need to show proof of a negative PCR test before arrival and take another PCR test upon arrival, thereupon staying one night at a quarantine hotel while awaiting the results.
However, hopes for the revival of the travel sector remain low. Sammy Samuels, managing director of Myanmar Shalom Travels, commented that it will take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Having already received a few enquiries from partner travel agents since March, as well as from individuals and families planning to travel around October and November, Samuels predicts the business market will be the first to rebound, albeit slowly.
He said: “Myanmar’s tourism industry was battered by the pandemic and politics. Even with this double crisis, the resilience shown by Myanmar’s people is remarkable. Reopening the e-visa facility will revive the tourism sector a bit, but this year will be challenging.”
Even attractions remain pessimistic – elephant sanctuary Green Hill Valley has only received reservations from a handful of locals and expats, but none from international visitors.
“Tourism will not be able to rebound this year without stability, peace and tranquillity – the current situation is even worse than we expected,” said Tin Maw, general manager, Green Hill Valley.
International visitors are also advised to use a local Destination Management Company (DMC) when visiting Myanmar as cash withdrawals from ATMs are not possible and few businesses are accepting international credit cards presently.
Edwin Briels, managing director of Exploration Travel Myanmar, said: “It’s essential now to book with a Myanmar DMC that knows the situation on the ground and takes care of the clients’ safety. I urge people to travel with a local guide who can explain in-depth about the country and check in advance if the area is safe to travel.”