Authorities in Myanmar have announced plans to reopen its tourism sector to foreigners in early 2022. The initial target would be tourists from Asia. According to CNN, there are people of Burmese heritage who want to reconnect with family, also Buddhists eager to see some of the country’s sacred temples. Business people are also being included in the plan.
Minister for Hotels and Tourism Htay Aung said in an interview that authorities are working on travel arrangements with countries including Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
About 300,000 foreigners are expected in the first phase of the reopening. Later on, Myanmar would look to allow visitors from Japan, China and South KoreaHtay Aung, Minister for Hotels and Tourism
The goal is to open so Thais can safely visit popular tourist destinations in and around Kawthoung, Myeik, Dawei, Tachileik and Kyaington. A sustained influx of tourists is at risk, however, as the country continues to see sporadic clashes between security forces and groups opposed to February’s military takeover.
CNN reports that infrastructure has been significantly weakened, many businesses have closed due to economic pressure or owners leaving the country. The tourism industry is now being run by military generals. While some 90,000 rooms are still available, half of the country’s hotels and guest houses have suspended operations.
We are preparing for necessary arrangements for travel bubbles with Thailand so that we will be ready when they reach out to us through an official channelHtay Aung, Minister for Hotels and Tourism
According to Bloomberg News, the Kempinski Group, Europe’s oldest luxury hotel chain, announced in early December that it was ceasing operations in the nation’s capital Naypyidaw. No specific details were provided.
According to the latest report by the Asian Development Bank, Myanmar’s economy contracted 18.4% in the fiscal year ending on September 30th. “The potential is there but it will take years to return to the level we reached before the pandemic,” Htay Aung said.
The World Travel & Tourism Council reported that tourism contributed about 6% of Myanmar’s gross domestic product in 2019 before the pandemic