Tourist arrivals to MraukU Cultural Zone declined due to conflicts

Mrauk U @ Phoe Khwar copy
Mrauk-U cultural heritage zone, dotted with ancient pagodas, is a popular tourist destination.

The number of tourists visiting the MraukU Cultural Zone has declined due to armed conflicts which have taken place in Rakhine State, according to recently released statistics.
In the months of October, November, December, January and February, overseas tourists amounting to between 1,000 and 4,000 came in the region, depending upon the stability of the area.
“The amount of the overseas guests dropped more than last year. As for our hotel, the drop was estimated at 30 per cent. Local guests are normal. The drop is considered to be attributed to the affairs in Rakhine State. Some booked their trip, but then cancelled their reservations. They decided depending upon the news they heard.”
According to the MraukU township office of General Administration Department, arrivals of foreign guests coming into MraukU were 3,478 in 2011, 3,015 in 2012, 1,752 in 2013, 3,573 in 2014, 4,155 in 2015 and 2016 (January to June).
“To recover the dropping situation of tourism to the normalcy, it is necessary to make stability in the area known to foreign travellers. And completion of the MraukU airport is urgently needed for easy access to the area. Eighty per cent of foreign tourists who visited MraukU used to go about the villages near Laymyochaung, enjoying the trips. Making ecotourism developed is urgently needed,” said a tourist guide.
MraukU is an old Rakhine city surrounded by forests and mountains. In prosperous times, Rakhine kings built their city fortified with many walls in accord with the status of a city, with the stone-built palace in the center and religious edifices of pagodas and stupas nearby systematically constructed.
“MraukU is an area full of cultural heritage. It abounds with many things that are of value concerning history and research. We can profit from these. Accordingly, the MraukU airport rebuilding, which had been suspended, needs to be resumed so that socio-economic development of the local people will be achieved,” said U Tun Tha Sein, State Pyithu Hluttaw representative of MraukU constituency 1.
It is learnt that Europeans visit MraukU more than those from Asian countries, especially from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and the UK.

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