Myanmar’s lagging tourism industry has Asian source markets to thank for, as regional arrivals swell on the back of new air connections, writes Marissa Carruthers
Just like its neighbours, Myanmar is enjoying swelling interest from Asian tourists, who are helping to fill the arrival gap left behind by weakening longhaul markets.
Latest figures from the destination’s tourism authorities show that 841,579 international visitors arrived at Yangon International Airport in the first eight months of 2019, up 16 per cent year-on-year. Asian arrivals leapt 21 per cent year-on-year, with China leading the pack and recording an 81 per cent increase to 219,242.
Meanwhile, Western European arrivals slipped by two per cent in the same period. Italy and Spain were the only markets that recorded a pick up in arrivals, at 18 and 14 per cent respectively.
North American visitorship grew slightly, at just one per cent.
With China as the front runner in arrivals for Myanmar, industry players are hopeful that the market- particularly the swelling middle-class-will help steer Myanmar’s lagging tourism industry to recovery. To further grow Chinese arrivals, industry leaders say there needs to be unique experiences that are also easily accessible.
Another source of hope lies the country’s recent improvements in air accessibility. New flights launched in 2019 connect Myanmar with Hangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan, with more services on the horizon. There are now 10 airlines flying between Myanmar and 15 different Chinese cities.
LCC IndiGo Airlines started daily direct flights from Kolkata to Yangon in October 2019, while Dubai-based fly-dubai launched daily services to Yangon, with an onward connection to Thailand’s Krabi, in December.
Meanwhile, the government has helped to move tourism development along with improved visa programmes for international travellers.
Sources from- TTG The official show Daily (Issue 3)