Number of foreign tourists visiting Dawei rises this year

Visitors seen at the beach in Dawei. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
Visitors seen at the beach in Dawei. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

THE number of foreign tourists visiting the southern Myanmar coastal region of Dawei has increased this year, when comparing current figures with those of January last year according to the department of hotels and tourism industry development.
A total of 2,813 tourists visited Dawei in the month of January last year, compared with 4,948 in January of 2016.
“Number [of visitors] always goes up every year in the months after September. In the months prior [to September] there are fewer tourists. As Dawei is close to Bangkok in Thailand, those travelling to the Thai capital pass through Dawei.” said Daw Aye Aye Mya, clerk of the Department of Hotels and Tourism Development for Dawei district.
The majority of tourists that arrive in Dawei are foreigners, travelling independently, while package tour groups are rarely seen. Despite the rise in travelers to one of Myanmar’s more untouched tourist destinations, the real draw of islands off the coast are yet to have fully opened up.
“The regional government hasn’t yet permitted itineraries for foreign tourists to visit the islands of Laung Lone and Bouk. If [foreigner travellers] desire to visit [these locations] then they must apply for permission from the regional government.” explained an official from the aforementioned government department of Dawei district.
Foreign tourists entering Myanmar from the Thai boarder are given a 7 day tourist visa, which can be extended at immigration upon return to the boarder, it is known. “We only have a record of those who’ve come to country for employment purposes, [a record] of three-month business visa [holders]. If one’s visa has run out then they are eligible to extend it, but obviously with a letter of permission from [the visa holder’s] relevant company.” said U Myo Kyaw Thu, a Dawei district immigration official.
Foreigners that come to work in the Dawei region are only permitted to hold a 3 month single entry business visa, with the number of foreigners currently living and working in Dawei totalling over thirty, according to the Department of Immigration.
The number of foreign visitors the Dawei region has been increasing over the last few years: 12,025 foreigners travelled to the region in 2013, while the following year numbers sky-rocketed nearly five fold to 51,698, with last year seeing a total of 58,853.— Myitmakha News Agency

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