08/03/2016, 10.09
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Myanmar, democratic change also helps tourism sector

The country emerges as one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations. This year saw an increase of one million visits compared to 2015. The victory of Aung San Suu Kyi and the fall of international sanctions give new impetus to the sector. The goal is to reach 7.5 million tourists by 2019.


Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (Nld) at the last elections, Myanmar benefits from fall of international sanctions and reforms of the new government, giving new strength to his touristic sector. For years impoverished by the military junta, now the country emerges as one of Southeast Asia’s hot destinations.

Travel to the once-cloistered country used to be reserved for the well-heeled and intrepid, prepared to endure the travails of a country under military rule with patchy electricity and limited communications.

The number of tourists, which have started to increase since the 2011 democratic reforms, now is reaching new edges. This year Myanmar is on track to welcome 5.5 million tourists, nearly a million more than 2015.

Tint Thwin, director-general of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, stated: “We hope the number will grow to 7.5 million tourists per year within three years”. Speaking on the sidelines of a major tourism conference in Yangon, he added: “We will try to find new destinations for tourists to visit and we will also support community-based tourism”.

Myanmar is one of the poorest country in southeast Asia. In comparison, neighbouring Thailand received 30 million visitors last year. Yangon tourist sector is slowed by the lack of adequate structures: hotels are expensive and often do not meet the international standards.

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