September 23, 2017
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A tall order for Myanmar tourism

Photo: Hongsar / Mizzima

Tour tickets by many travel and tour companies in Myanmar declined by about 40 percent this year.

Despite a greater number of travelers than last year’s record high, most of the travelers to Myanmar are foreign businessmen and the number of package tours declined this year.

The number of travelers reached a record high number of one million in 2012 and it was expectedto rise further, however, the travelers are in Free Individual Tour (FIT) and the number of package tours was still low, said a tour industry group.

Aye Kyaw, a member of the Hotel and Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, said that the cost of travel in Myanmar is about three times more than that of neighboring countries.

“Myanmar has become infamous around the world for its high hotel prices. The travelers are upset with this,” he said.

“The sale of tour tickets by most of the travel and tour companies in Myanmar declined by about 40 percent this year over last year,” he added.

Myanmar’s tourism industry declined from 2007 onwards but picked up again in early 2011. Myanmar was then faced with the problem of having an inadequate number of hotel rooms to accommodate all these travelers in 2012.

A night’s stay at Shangri-La Hotel Group run hotel, Traders, in Yangon is US$235 per day in comparison with $122 in Hong Kong and $197 in Singapore, according to the Shangri-La website.

A member of Myanmar Tourist Guides’ Association Sai Win Sone said, “Wealthy tourists from the US and England come to Myanmar despite higher cost, but the tourists from other European countries chose cheaper Thai, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as their holiday destinations.”

Each tour operator in Myanmar had 10 package tours on average per month, which had at least 25 tourists in each group but this year this number declined to an average of five package tour groups.

Another tour guide said, “Sometimes we had to merge these groups into one as the numbers were very low.”

Managing Director of Nature Dream Travel & Tours SabeAung said, “The hotel room rates are high but the service is poor, cannot catch up with neighboring countries.”

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