BANGKOK, 8 June 2015: Myanmar’s priority is to tap high value tourism according to a Myanmar Tourism Marketing report during a briefing at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2015 late last week.
The organisation’s marketing manager, Tin New Wynt, said tourism was earlier identified as one of the top five priority sectors in Myanmar to boost the economy.
“Our tourism growth will not be based on “profitless volume” instead Myanmar will seek visitors who appreciate a cultural experience, stay longer and spend more in the country.”
To achieve those goals she said the country would need to improve its research on “length of stay, visitor expenditure and visitor dispersal, to spread the benefits of tourism evenly across the country.”
The country has limited marketing resources to promote to international markets so the priority remains to work with the travel trade, inbound tourism operators and wholesalers.
Possibly the biggest driver encouraging travel is the e-Visa facility that was started last September. Citizens from 100 countries, including all European Union nations, can use the online visa service.
The online visa is available within five working days by applying on the officical website and pay an non-refundable USD50 fee per person for a 28 day visa. See: www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm.
However, in most cases approval is sent by email to the travellers within 24 hours. The visa fee can be paid for with a variety of credit cards. It is also important to visit the official site, as stated above and not the commercial sites that advertise on seach engines. They are more expensive and offer no added value services.
Last January, the e-Visa was made available for travellers entering the country at Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw airports (first point of entry). Yangon was the sole entry point at the start of the project. There are now plans to add overland entry points.
Last year the market mix for arrivals was 30% tourists travelling independently, 22% package tours, 19% business and 29% social visits and others.
In 2014, Thailand was the top source market for Myanmar’s tourism industry with 198,229 visits up 17.52% from 139,770.
China followed with 125,609 visits improving 11.10% from 90,550 and Japan was in third place with 83,434 up 7.37% from 68,761 visits in 2013.
The United States ranked fourth with 62,631 visits growing 5.54% from 53,653 while South Korea was in fifth place with 58,472 visits increasing 5.17% from 54,934.
The next top five markets were: Singapore (47,692; +4.21%); Malaysia (46,534; +4.11%); France (41,453; +3.66%); the United Kingdom (40,921; +3.62%); and Germany (32,265; +2.85%).
Tourism generated an estimated USD1,789 million in revenue compared to USD926 million in 2013. (Figures are ballpark, derived from limited exit surveys.) The average expenditure per person per day was USD170 (up from USD145 in 2013) and the average length of stay nine days (up seven days in 2013).
There are 1,106 hotels with 43,243 rooms thoughout the country which there are more hotels plan to open operation.