MANDALAY, 27 June 2016: Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism reports nearly 160,000 international tourists visited the former royal capital of Mandalay, January to May, this year, an increase of 22% over the same period, last year.
Global New Light of Myanmar reported the majority of travellers were from China, followed by Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Travellers visit Mandalay as part of a tour to Bagan or to join river cruises.
Myanmar Airways International is due to start a new service connecting Mandalay and Bangkok, 1 September, with three weekly flights on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday using an Airbus A319.
Entering the country at Yangon and then travelling to Mandalay over land, or by domestic airline, is time-consuming. Officials said efforts were needed to attract more international airlines in Asia to offer direct flights to Mandalay.
It would take considerable pressure off Yangon airport which despite upgrades and expansion remains congested.
Mandalay’s most visited places are Myanansankyaw Golden Palace, Mandalay Hill, Maha Myatmuni Pagoda, U Bein Bridge, the Golden Temple and Ahtumashi Monastery.
Last year, Mandalay welcomed 306,432 tourist arrivals compared to 242,566 in 2014.
Mandalay is the second-largest city and is the former royal capital of Myanmar. It is located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Ayeyawady River.