The latest figures have been released for the tourism statistics of visitor arrivals through Yangon airport in Myanmar for 2015. It shows that yet again there has been an increase in the number of visitors to the country’s former capital – the busiest and largest airport from the previous years, just as many had predicted in the country’s tourism industry.
A total of 1,100,003 visitors came through Yangon airport last year an increase of 127,406 from the 2014 when 972,597 visitors came through the main airport. Myanmar is attracting more and more visitors to increasingly popular destinations in the country such as Ngwe Suang, Ngapali Beach, Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Ngapali Beach and of course Yangon.
Southeast Asia has long been a popular destinations of oversea visitors with the main destinations such Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and even Cambodia. But the latest figures for arrivals into Yangon shows that Myanmar shows is fast becoming a popular destination too.
In previous years there was a lack of infrastructure in the country to cater for overseas tourists but an increase of local and foreign investment in creating new hotels and an increased number of tour operators targeting overseas tourists means that there is now more competition. This has resulted in prices being reduced for tours, hotels and attractions, so Myanmar is becoming a more attractive place to travel, especially for those who are financially conscience. There are also more budget airlines and routes have been increased so it is easier to travel around the country. There are as many as 12-14 flights from Bangkok to Yangon everyday and even Mandalay has increased the number of flights direct from Bangkok.
The greatest number of tourists that came through Yangon were from Asian countries. Top of the list was visitors from Thailand, followed by China, then Japan. However, what may be a surprise to many would be the next greatest amount of visitors came from the US. The country even accepts US dollars in most places and they are easily exchanged in many cities.
The fact that you can, since September 2014, apply for a Visa on-line has boosted tourism which is available to visitors of over 80 different countries.
The appeal of foreign investment in the tourism sector such as construction of hotels and resorts has prompted more and more overseas operators to promote the country with the majority of hotels located in Yangon, Mandalay and Shan State, which makes up for two-thirds of the hotels in the entire country. In previous years the lack of hotels meant that was not enough supply to meet demand therefore many potential operators were put off for organising tours to the country and hotels prices were extremely high compared to the surrounding countries.
The development is continuing to increase, as the Tourism Development Bank is looking to provide financial assistance to local hotels and tour companies. For the coming months and years tourism looks very positive in terms of increasing numbers of visitors to Myanmar and the appeal of this diverse and unique country.