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Myanmar Times : Foreign visitor arrivals up by 110,000

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Old June 28th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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Default Myanmar Times : Foreign visitor arrivals up by 110,000

Myanmar Times : June 28 - July 4, 2004 © Volume 12 , No.222

Foreign visitor arrivals up by 110,000

By Su Myat Hla

MYANMAR attracted nearly 600,000 foreign visitors last year, an
increase of more than 110,000 on the figure for 2002, show statistics
released by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Total earnings from tourism in 2003 were US$116 million, up from $99
million the previous year, the ministry said.

The figures show that 205,610 visitors arrived through Yangon,
Mandalay and Bagan airports in 2003, while 391,405 people – including
day-return visitors – entered through checkpoints on the borders with
Thailand and China.

Border tourism was up 44 per cent on 2002, when 270,278 people entered
the country from Thailand or China, the figures show.

They also show that entries through Mandalay and Bagan airports last
year totalled 7175, a 66 per cent increase on the 2002 figure of 4744.

A total of 198,435 visitors entered through Yangon's Mingarlardon
Airport last year, down slightly on the 212,468 in 2002.

A breakdown of the arrivals through Mingalardon Airport in 2003 shows
that 66,772 were independent travellers, 55,469 were on package tours
and 44,151 were business travellers. Another 13,140 were visiting
friends or relatives in Myanmar while 18,903 were listed as visiting
for other purposes.

Of the 205,610 visitors who arrived through Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan
airports, 59 per cent, or 121,392 were from Asia, 28 per cent, or
58,161, were from Western Europe and the rest were from other parts of
the world.

Visitors from Thailand topped the list of Asian tourists, accounting
for 22,214, or 10.8 per cent of the overall total. There were 19,645
visitors from Taiwan (9.55 per cent), 18,799 from Japan (9.14 per
cent), and 15,564 from China (7.57 per cent).

Germany accounted for most of the visitors from Western Europe, with
13,341 (6.49 per cent), followed by France with 13,125 (6.38 per
cent), Britain with 7848 (3.82 per cent), and Italy with 6129 (2.98
per cent).

Visitors from other regions included 13,256 from the United States
(6.45 per cent).

The average length of stay and average daily spending by tourists in
2003 was 7.5 days and $80, the same as for 2002.

There were 25 chartered flights last year, which carried a total of
1829 passengers. Another 2535 passengers arrived in cruise liners and
2096 entered the country on yachting tours.

Independent travellers accounted for 34 per cent of all arrivals, 27
per cent were on package tours, 23 per cent were business travellers
and 16 per cent were listed in the ‘others' category.

Most tourists were aged between 21 and 50 (58 per cent) and there were
more men than women (63 per cent to 37 per cent).

The figures also show that there are 563 hotels, motels and guest
houses throughout the country, with just over 17,000 rooms. Yangon has
154 places offering accommodation (with 6119 rooms), followed by 81 in
Bagan (1799 rooms), 61 in Mandalay (2420 rooms) and 36 at Nyaung Shwe,
on Inle Lake (724 rooms).

The director of the ministry's Tourism Promotion Department, Daw Nyunt
Nyunt Than, said the increase in arrivals was mainly because Myanmar
was gaining more publicity as a tourist destination.

"Not many tourists know that they can visit Myanmar during the monsoon
season and that the country's attractions range from marine tourism to
snow-capped mountains," said Daw Nyunt Nyunt Than.

She said this information had been publicised at seminars, conferences
and other events as well as being posted on the myanmar.com website.

Cooperation with regional organisations such as the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations and road shows held by the Myanmar Marketing
Committee of the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board were also helping to
attract more visitors.

"An ASEAN meeting in Myanmar means nearly 100 arrivals and the World
Buddhism Summit which is being held in Yangon in December will also
bring in many people," she said.

"Tourism cooperation between Myanmar and Thailand should also be taken
into account," she said.

Daw Nyunt Nyunt Than said an increase in the number of tourist
arrivals during the wet season was a good sign for the coming high

"If more tourists come in during the low tourist season, there is no
doubt that we will see many more during the high season," she said.

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