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Myanmar takes measures to boost tourism in anticipation of major events in two years

2013-07-31 From:Xinhua, July 30, 2013    [Large Medium small]

YANGON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is taking various measures to boost tourism and as part of the measures, it is trying to turn at least 100-year old four colonial-style buildings, once government offices in Myanmar's downtown Yangon, to hotels to meet the growing demand for hotel rooms as Myanmar sees flocks of tourists and business travelers entering the country.

The old-aged buildings include offices of Myanma Import/Export Enterprise, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Trade Ministry.

The auction winners for the transformation with these colonial buildings will be announced soon and the firms are to repair the buildings without changing the ancient architecture style.

Hotel rooms including those newly built and under construction are not enough for expected arrivals of tourists for 2013-14 fiscal year.

As Myanmar-host 27th Southeast Asian Games in 2013 and ASEAN Summit in 2014 are drawing near, the number of foreign tourists is expected to grow this year.

After the United States eased sanctions on Myanmar, a U.S.- based hotel chain, Best Western International, is set to open its first hotel in Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw in the second quarter of next year.

The 205-room hotel will become one of the first internationally- branded hotels in Nay Pyi Taw.

Best Western has opened over 4000 hotels in 100 countries.

In a bid to fulfill the hotel demand, the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism had started in late last year to plan some new hotel zones in areas between Myanmar's Yangon International Airport and the Hanthawaddy International Airport under implementation.

The new hotel zone to be introduced under the Yangon urban development strategic project is expected to be finalized for implementation by December 2013 along with the project of the Hanthawaddy Airport.

Myanmar received 554,531 foreign visitors through Yangon entry point alone in 2012, representing an increase of 54 percent compared with 2011.

The existing hotel zones in Myanmar lie in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Bago, Rakhine , Mawlamyine, Bagan, Taunggyi, Chaungtha, Golden Triangle and Ngwehsaung.

Official figures show that up to 2012, there was a total of nearly 800 hotels in Myamar. Of them, five hotels are rated as five-star's, 18 as four star's, 83 as three star's, 115 as two star's, 103 as one star's and 463 as certificated hotels.

International travelers visit Myanmar through such important gateways as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Nay Pyi Taw as well as border points.

The tourism industry is booming as a series of government reforms has facilitated more foreign investment and Myanmar is chosen as interesting tourist destinations.

Globetrotters and local pilgrims arrive in Inlay in different travel programs. Some visit there in their own cars while others come in flock to visit there under the arrangement of travel agencies or local tour operators.

According to Myanmar Tourism Statistics in 2012, there is a total of 3,353 licensed tour guides -- 2,058 for English language, 350 for Japanese and 246 for French.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism will promote tourist sector with Japan to boost bilateral relation between the two countries.

At present, only 10,000 Japanese travelers have visited Myanmar and up to as many as 1 million are expected in the future through promotion of tourist.

In 2012, Myanmar attracted more than 1 million tourists and 1.5 million tourists are expected to visit Myanmar this year.

According to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), Myanmar earned 1585.811 million U.S.dollars as of July 2013 from hotel and tourism sector.

Myanmar stands an interesting tourist destination for international travelers to experience its abundantly rich, cultural and natural heritage, genuine hospitality and spiritual value.

It is becoming an attractive economic destination for foreign investment in different sectors too.

The responsible tourism policy is being developed with the technical and financial support from the Germany-based Hanns Seidal Foundation and a master plan in this regard is being drafted. The plan is also supported by the Norwegian government and the Asian Development Bank. Meanwhile, three ancient Pyu cities of Beikthano, Hanlin and Tharekhittra have been submitted for inclusion to UNESCO's World Heritage List. Myanmar rejoined the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) in June 2012 which promised to support Myanmar in taking full advantage of its tremendous tourist potential.

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