The number of tourists visiting Myanmar has declined by 11 per cent as of October this fiscal year when compared to the same period of last year, U Thet Lwin Toe, the chairman of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.
The Ministry of Hotel and Tourism has a target of 3 million tourists this fiscal year. Currently, Myanmar has already received over 2.5 million tourists as of October. If we receive more tourist number in December, we can meet the target, he added.
“Ninety per cent of booked trips have been cancelled in MraukU and Ngapali because of wrong information about the Rakhine conflict issue, which has occurred over the last few months. But there is not that much cancellation in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and other places,” he added.
“MraukU and Ngapali trips have been canceled because of negative media’s impact. The political situation does not really impact tourism, but that kind of issue should be handed through the media:, said U Thet Lwin Toe.
“Concerning the Rakhine issue, tourists from Italy, France, Spain and Asian countries are visiting Myanmar regularly, but the tourists from America and England has cancelled their bookings,” said U Aung Tun Lin, the chairperson of the Myanmar Tourist Guides Association (MTGA).
“Our guides took the time and tried to explain the Rakhine issue to the tourists who misunderstand. All of the tourists are also interested in the Rakhine issue. So we feel really sorry for it because most of the tourists misunderstand. Only five tourists visited Myanmar among 20 tourists who booked to visit our country,” he added.
According to statistics on 2017 visitor arrivals by nationality, the majority of visitors are from Thailand, followed by China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam. Citizens of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain also visited Myanmar.
To be able to develop the Myanmar tourism industry, partnerships between public and private should be more closely encouraged. The Tourism Development Committee should also conduct national-level meetings three or four times per year, said U Thet Lwin Toe.
U Aung Tun Lin, the Chairperson of the Myanmar Tourist Guides Association (MTGA), urged the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to implement the tourism point of view with the cooperation of the regional authorities and local people to be able to develop the tourism industry. The ministry should also be provided with awareness talks concerning the tourism sector.
“For example, the local people from Inle region covered their houses with the beer advertisement paper. The tourists are also asked about it. Actually, It want the local people to know that it can affect our tourism image. Covering the building at the viewpoint area is another reason to impact our tourism industry”, he added.
Moreover, the government should reduce the collection of toilet fees and camera fees for the tourists as much as they can.
There are many beautiful natural scenes, eco-tourism sites and archeological sites in Myanmar.
The ministry is also implementing community-based tourism and seeking new destinations areas which can attracts the attention of the tourists, said U Ohn Myint, the Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
“There are many natural resources in Myanmar. But, we need to conserve our resources. Not only the ministry of hotels and tourism but also other related ministries and private sectors have a responsibility to conserve those natural resources,” he added.
By May Thet Hnin