News report | | 10-09-2018 | ±3 minutes reading time

Tourism in Myanmar has dropped with 2 percent in the first half of this year. Myanmar welcomed some 1.7 million tourists. This is less compared to last year, according to the ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Myanmar.

Myanmar is primarily dealing with less tourists due to recent bad press regarding the Rohingya crisis. In contrast, neighboring Thailand remains one of the most visited countries in Asia, though China is hot on its heels.

Asian countries

Most tourists visiting Myanmar come from surrounding Asian countries. Myanmar primarily attracts visitors from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Vietnam and Malaysia. Malaysian tourists are the only ones from the AEAN group that still need a visa if they want to visit Myanmar.

During the winter Myanmar is especially popular with European tourists. Europe is a large supplier of group tourism, for example through tours. Due to the crisis with the Rohingya, tourist numbers have been dropping since October 2016. Most European tourists come from France, England, Germany and Italy. They primarily arrived at the airports Yangon, Mandaly and Nay Pyi Taw.

Goals

Myanmar has set itself an ambitious goal for 2020. The country is aiming to welcome over 7 million visitors. In comparison, last year saw 3.4 million tourists travel to Myanmar, a rise of 18 percent compared to the year before.

In recent times however, tourism has been steadily dropping. This is partly due to the Rohingya crisis, but also because of new rules at the border crossings. This made it so tourists that want to stay in Myanmar for only a single day can no longer easily cross the border. Tourists are permitted to land at three international airports: Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. Furthermore, tourists can also report at the checkpoints in Tachilek, Myaway, Kawthoung and Hteekhee.

Visa application

In total, citizens from over one hundred countries can apply for a so-called e-visa for Myanmar. This digital visa can be applied for online and is meant to fuel tourism to the country.

The UK is one of the selected countries that qualifies for the online variant of the visa. The visa is mandatory for all British travellers. Only inhabitants from Myanmar itself don’t need to apply for a visa. Because the visa can easily be applied for online tourists won’t need to visit the embassy of Myanmar anymore.

The e-visa is an electronic document and grants permission to enter the country, which is why it is also known as an e-visa. However, this actually concerns an ‘approval letter’. An approval letter is a document which states that the traveller will be allowed into the country on arrival. The actual visa will be stamped at the passport check.

Arrival in Myanmar

When you arrive in Myanmar, you won’t need to pay again for the actual visa. All costs of the visa are charged when applying online. The visa is valid for a total of 90 days. You can stay in Myanmar for a maximum of 28 consecutive days on an e-visa. With an e-visa, you are allowed to enter and leave Myanmar once. For any future visits, a new visa must be purchased.

There are a number of requirements the traveller must meet. The passport must be valid for at least 6 more months, an overnight stay must have already been arranged, and it is not permitted to perform (volunteer) work. Furthermore, travellers must be able to present a return flight ticket on arrival in Myanmar.