Mawlamyine, February (15)

The political unrest and lack of security assurances that followed Myanmar’s military takeover have severely impacted the tourism industry, which has now reached a critical stage, the tour operators and tour guides told Than Lwin Times.

Myanmar’s tourism industry has reached its worst situation in the two years since the military coup, and the most popular tourist destinations, such as Bagan, Inlay, and Kyaiktiyo, have seen a significant decline in visitor arrivals.

From 2022 to the end of January this year, only over 60,000 tourists visited Kyaiktiyo, which attracts millions of domestic and international pilgrims annually.

According to tour operators, the number of domestic and foreign tourists has decreased significantly from January to the end of March, during Myanmar’s holiday periods, because the military council is unable to take responsibility for regional security.

As a result, U Naung Naung Han, chairman of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, told Than Lwin Times that if the military council does not resolve the country’s unstable situation as soon as possible, the tourism sector could suffer severely.

“Holiday makers used to go to Upper Myanmar. Now that there are no conflicts in Bagan, people go there. There will be very few visitors by the end of February and March”, he said.

Fighting is also taking place in Upper Myanmar, near Bagan, which is a tourist destination for local and foreign tourists, and in Kyaiktiyo and Inlay, which used to be visited by Thai, where there are also battles between the military council and the revolutionary forces.

According to a tour guide, the decline in tourists has reduced the income of hotels, guesthouses, tour guides, and businesses selling souvenirs associated with tourism.

Tourism operators said that since the arrival of tourists at the beginning of the first tourist season of 2023 did not happen as expected, if tourism safety measures cannot be established during the winter travel season in November and December at the end of next year, there is concern for Myanmar tourism and related businesses.

In 2021, the military council attended the ceremony of the White Paper on Safety and Security in Tourism held by the World Tourism Federation as a representative of Myanmar, but the guidelines of that document were not implemented in practice.

Tourism operators have warned that if the military council does not take steps to stabilize the situation in Myanmar as soon as possible, the image of the Myanmar tourism sector will deteriorate and it will not be able to recover.

News-Than Lwin Times

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