The number of Chinese tourists arriving in Mandalay, one of the culturally-rich destinations in Myanmar, significantly increased this year, according to the region’s Directorate of Hotels and Tourism.
U San Yu, assistant director of the department, said that Chinese tourists ranked first among the list of foreigners visiting Mandalay during the first half of this year, followed by French and Thai tourists. During the six-month period, a total of 89,096 Chinese visitors entered the region. Despite an increase in the number of Chinese visitors, this year saw a decline in the number of European visitors in the region.
He also said that the growth of Chinese visitors to Mandalay may be linked to the operation of a new airline and the government’s efforts to offer visa-free entry to Myanmar for citizens of Japan and South Korea. Authorities on tourism are making concerted efforts to offer better services to international visitors.
According to the department’s data, a total of 231,002 visitors entered Mandalay between January and June this year, which is a decrease of 5,040 from this time last year, when 236,042 foreigners visited the region. International tourist arrivals are expected to increase in the second half of this year.
U San Yu added that the government’s attempts to develop the country’s smokeless industry include the issuing of new licences relating to the tourism sector, reducing the fee rate of services by half and implementation of the online licencing system. Tourism is a service business, and to provide better services, hotel- and tourism-related service training has been given to all employees to improve their capacity.
In addition, arrangements are being made to open new information counters at Mandalay International Airport. Currently, three information counters have been opened at the region’s Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, Mandalay Railway Station and the Mandalay International Airport. The government expects tourist arrivals in Mandalay to reach around 500,000 this year. Last year, the arrival of international visitors surpassed the government’s expectation of 450,000.
Min Htet Aung (Mandalay Sub-printing House)