CNI News

25 Nov 2022

As long as tourists are charged extra fees, the tourism sector of Myanmar will not develop, tour operators and hoteliers told the CNI.

They added that the practice should be ended for the development of the tourism sector.

Although domestic tourism has recovered after the COVID-19 outbreak, only a few foreign tourists have visited Myanmar, tour operators and hoteliers told the CNI.

Chairman U Zaw Zaw of Shan State (North) Hoteliers Association told the CNI, "Actually, we need to attract tourists by easing restrictions when the demand is very low. So, we need to ease restrictions on travel and entry because we are struggling to recover for nothing.  I have been discussing the issue for a long time. Entry fees and hotel charges in Myanmar are a lot more expensive than other countries but services we offer are not as good as other countries. I think foreign tourists will visit Myanmar if the government helps adjust the supply and demand. We need to take care of them properly since they arrive at the airport and charge reasonable prices."

Tourist arrivals in Thailand have increased dramatically in the post-COVID period because the government has allowed tour operators  to take initiatives on their own discretion, according to tour operators and hoteliers.

An archway to Mandalay.

Therefore, the Myanmar government should allow tour agencies to develop tour destinations and help them if necessary, they added.

A tour entrepreneur said, "Thailand has set a target on tourism earnings. The government does not pay lip service for the sector and helps pragmatically by investing millions of US dollars  in the sector. Thailand had more COVID-19 victims than Myanmar but tourists are still visiting the neighbouring country. When Singapore imposed strict restrictions on tourists, Thailand reopened tourism. So, tourists from many countries including Myanmar and Russia have been visiting Thailand to invest there because the situation in their countries is not conducive to new businesses. People get job opportunities when the country receives new foreign investments. People get construction jobs. Thailand has developed dramatically. It is also a military regime and the country has not always had peace. Oppositions are always staging protests. On the other hand, it has guaranteed businesses. So, the economy has never been disrupted. Tourists are visiting the country as usual and the country has developed."

Compared with Thailand, the tourism sector of Myanmar is completely different.

Tour destinations in Myanmar are more beautiful and pleasant than Thailand but only a few tourists visit Myanmar because of the failures to develop tour destinations and extra charges for tourists, according to tour operators and hoteliers.