Myanmar has been making efforts to promote the role of tourism development amid challenges for further sustainable development of the quality tourism industry.
As ASEAN Economic Community will emerge after 2017, the country needs to establish a market with skilled labor, capital and investment in order to develop the tourism service business.
At present, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is exerting efforts to collaborate with private sector in promoting the country’s tourism sector for the development of levels of financial status, human resources and infrastructure.
Transport infrastructure, lodging facilities, human resources and security for visitors in some tourism sites play the main role for attracting more foreign visitors in the country’s historical landmarks.
Myanmar expects a total of 3.5 million tourist arrivals this year against over 3 million registered last year.
In accordance with the official statistics, visitors from Thailand topped the list of foreign visitors from Asia, followed by those of China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia while among Western travellers, those of the United States mostly visited the country, followed by France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Meanwhile, the country is also striving to promote eco-tourism, cultural tourism and community-based tourism in resource-rich areas such as historical landscapes, rivers, lakes, beaches, islands and forests.
Due to the fact that there are only a small number of foreign visitors entering the country in terms of ecotourism, the authorities concerned have been planning to boost environmental conservation and ecotourism awareness in resource-rich areas as the sustainable management of the natural environment plays the key role for development of eco-tourism.
With the collaboration of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar has planned to open the Bago Yoma Eco-Resort in the central part at the end of July for better conservation of the nature and to create more job opportunities for the local people.
The ministries also plan to implement cultural tourism and community-based tourism in Yangon, Pyay, Tayaykhittayar and Taungoo regions.
At present, Myanmar has altogether implemented eco-tourism in 10 regions and states including Yangon, Mandalay, Bago, Magway, Ayeyawassy, Taninthayi, Kachin, Chin, Mon and Shan.
As Myanmar’s three ancient Pyu cities– Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Kestra, respectively located in Sagaing, Magway and Bago regions, have been listed as world heritage of Myanmar in 2014 for the first time and archaeological excavation of the three Myanmar ancient cities continued for tourism development under a cultural heritage preservation plan.
In another attempt to bring the number of tourist arrivals not less than that in green season, the country now is introducing low season fare with tourism during the current monsoon season to visit destinations covering Bagan, Mandalay, northern Shan state, Kalaw and Inle Lake.
Though there are many challenges to promote the country’s tourism industry, Myanmar can still attract foreign visitors with its impressive landscapes, observers said.