YANGON, 14 January 2020: Myanmar’s 2019 tourism performance improved 15% to give the country 1,323,994 tourist arrivals through the country’s main gateway Yangon airport.
Officials released the year’s visitor data for the Yangon aviation gateway which excludes arrivals overland and through Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw the country’s two other international airports.
Once overland arrivals at all border checkpoints are counted, the annual performance could reach 4 million in 2019. But that is a far cry from the 2020 forecast of 7.5 million outlined in the country’s tourism masterplan 2013 to 2020 that was funded by the Asian Development Bank.
However, for the country’s travel industry, airline arrivals at Yangon airport are considered an accurate yardstick to measure the success of worldwide tourism promotions.
In 2019, Asia emerged as the dominant supply region accumulating 1,060,396 arrivals an increase of 20%. This compared with just 142,443 arrivals from West Europe that recorded zero growth over 2018.
China drives the growth in Asian markets, delivering 344,268 arrivals up by a massive 75% and replacing Thailand as the top supply market. Thailand now the second-largest market closed the year with 229,852 arrivals an increase of 2%.
Japan continues as the third-largest market as far as arrivals at Yangon’s airport are concerned with 114,823 visits up 27%. South Korea, with 70,194 arrivals up 4% was in fourth place, while the USA mustering 56,683 arrivals, an improvement of 2%, claimed the fifth spot. It was the only non-Asian market in the top 10 list.
Other strong top performers were: Singapore 52,461 (-4%); Vietnam 50,203 (3%); India 42,548 (4%); Malaysia 40,891 (10%); Taiwan 36,874 (-1%).
In contrast, Myanmar is losing traction in some traditionally important European markets noted for high yield clients. The UK market with 28,072 visits dropped 7%, France with 30,394 slumped 2%, and Switzerland with 6,570 arrivals declined 10%.
However, the good news in Europe focused on Germany with 21,691 visits up 2%, Spain with 11,301 visits up 20% and Italy with 16,550 up 14%.
Australia often considered a safe bet for Myanmar’s travel trade to focus on year-round declined 8% to deliver 22,135 visits.