SINGAPORE and YANGON, Myanmar, Jan. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/
Riding on a surge of investment in its tourism sector, Myanmar is heightening calls for more responsible and sustainable investment and at the same time promoting its best-kept beach destinations.
"The timing couldn't be more perfect to invest in Myanmar as it opens up to the world. We have fantastic tourism destinations that need to be served with world-class hotels and resorts, unique travel experiences, and better infrastructure," said Myanmar Union Minister of Hotels and Tourism U Ohn Maung while attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 in Singapore, which ran from 16 to 20 January.
On the back of new investment regulations set to take effect this year, the Government of Myanmar is promising to make ways for privileged and preferential treatment of investors in the tourism sector. Just last month, the Myanmar Union Parliament approved a proposal for the country to participate in the establishment of a tourism coordination office in the Greater Mekong.
According to figures from the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, foreign direct investment in Myanmar's hotel and tourism projects has reached almost USD 3 billion in 2016. Singapore (USD 1.6 billion) is on the top of the list as the biggest investor, followed by Thailand (USD 445 million) and Vietnam (USD 440 million). As of November 2016, FDI in the tourism sector had generated 56 projects, compared with 48 projects in 2015 that totaled USD 2.6 billion.
During the ATF, an annual regional event aimed at promoting ASEAN as one tourist destination and to boost intra-ASEAN travel, Myanmar also made a bid for more tourists to come explore its less-traveled beach destinations, such as Ngapali, as well as Myeik and Dawei in the Mergui Archipelago.
Mergui Archipelago, located in the southernmost part of Myanmar, is also home to the Lampi Marine National Park, which protects a rich biodiversity with more than 50 terrestrial and marine endangered species.
Myanmar also boasts various natural and cultural attractions in less-traveled places in Kayin, Chin, Mon and Kayah states; in addition to well-known destinations such as Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon.
"We invite travelers, from all around the world and especially our close neighbours here in Southeast Asia, to unravel the magic and mystery of Myanmar, experience our traditions and festivals, and the heartfelt hospitality of our people," said Minister U Ohn Maung.
According to data from Myanmar Tourism Marketing, despite a drop in overall number of visitors on tourist visa, there has been a surge in the number of visitors from North America and Western Europe in 2016.
Asia remains the largest source market for Myanmar, representing well more than 65 percent of incoming visitors in 2016. Neighbouring Thailand tops the list with 17.25 percent of visitors, while other ASEAN members Singapore (4.21 percent) and Malaysia (3.51 percent) also rank relatively high.
"Myanmar offers travelers excellent value for money. It's a magical place of authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, as well as warm hospitality. It's captivating, safe and beautiful. It's the one place I'm proud to call my home," said Myanmar Tourism Marketing Chairperson Daw May Myat Mon Win.
A part of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, MTM aims to promote Myanmar as a sustainable tourism destination that's safe and readily accessible any time of the year.
Source: Myanmar Tourism Marketing
Illustration Photo: Fisherman in Myanmar (Public Domain from Pixabay.com)
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