Vice President U Henry Van Thio called for exploring new traditional tourist attractions nationwide while also developing sustainable tourism in Myanmar.
“Apart from creating new tourism routes and new attractions including natural tourist attractions, we need to combine innovation with the natural resources to create more choices for tourists to visit in Myanmar,” said Vice President U Henry Van Thio yesterday.
He made the remarks as the Chairman of the Central Committee for the Development of the National Tourism Industry (CCDNTI), at the coordination meeting of the committee in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
He said systematic plans should be laid down for development of the country’s tourism sector, as it is blessed with abundant tourism resources compared to neighbouring countries.
Despite the abundance of natural scenery and tourist attractions, the number of visitors to Myanmar still remained below expectations, U Henry Van Thio said.
More than 2.9 million foreign visitors visited Myanmar in 2016, and as of the end of October 2017, a total of 3.1 million foreign visitors had visited, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The slow growth should be increased through retaining current growth momentum, and all need to pitch in and do this, the Vice President said.
The Asian countries of Thailand, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and European countries including France, Britain, and Germany are seen to have the highest numbers of visitors to Myanmar. These countries need to be targeted especially so that more will come. At the same time, countries from which not many visitors are coming but have the potential to increase need to be selected and promoted with market development works to raise interest in Myanmar so that there’ll be increase in the number of foreign visitors.
“While there is a need to promote Myanmar to the world as a place of interesting places to attract tourists, there is also a need to provide convenient and safe services and safe food to visitors when they visit Myanmar,” said U Henry Van Thio.
He also highlighted other important points, including availability of visa-on-arrival at main entry airports, direct flights from international countries, and visa-free entry to nationals of countries that are set as target countries as the way to achieve success and development for a country’s tourism industry.
He also called on private sector to cooperate with governmental departments for promoting the country’s tourism industry.
“Those who are concerned with tourism are obliged to refute fake news that can damage the image of the country, as the development of the tourism industry depends upon the image of the country,” said U Henry Van Thio.
The Vice President also stressed the need for stability to attract tourists.
Following the address of U Henry Van Thio, U Yi Mon, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, suggested to announce the National Tourism Policy and to take into consideration suggestions of the Hluttaw Tourism Law Drafting Committee to the Draft Tourism Law. He also discussed policies related to the sale of alcohol in the excise law, a tourism tax, issuing special visas to tourists and establishing an e-tourism working group.
Union Ministers U Kyaw Win, U Kyaw Tin, U Thein Swe, Thura U Aung Ko, U Ohn Win and Dr. Myint Htwe, and deputy minister U Kyaw Myo, Permanent Secretary U Tin Myint, the chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council and chief ministers of regions and states, took part in the discussions at the meeting.
President of Myanmar Tourism Federation U Yan Win also suggested that the government supply funds for tourism development, open border entrances and give visa exemptions to visitors from ASEAN countries, China, Japan and South Korea.—Myanmar News Agency