Amid a rise in the number of Chinese tourists and so called zero-dollar tours to Myanmar in the recent months, the government is now calling for sustainable and quality investments for Tanintharyi Region’s tourism industry.
U Thaung Tun, chair of the Myanmar Investment Commission and Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations and U Ohn Maung, Minister of Hotels and Tourism, urged investors to go for sustainable development and quality when looking to invest in the region, located in the far south of Myanmar bordering Thailand.
Both ministers had met with business owners from the tourism industry and other businesses on July 28 in the run-up to the Tanintharyi Region Investment Forum to be held in October.
“The region has lots of potential and the government and private sector can collaborate to bring in more sustainable and quality investment for tourism,” U Thaung Tun, also the Myanmar Investment Commission chairman, said.
The forum aims to attract responsible investment to the region, which includes the Myeik Archipelago on the Andaman Sea. The region only has a handful of hotels and guesthouses despite tourism being a major revenue generator.
In 2018, Tanintharyi Region Investment Committee endorsed five enterprises in the region, four of which were tourism-related, according to Directorate of Investment and Company Administration’s Statics. There are currently 30 hotels, 10 guesthouses and over 90 travel companies in Tanintharyi Region.
Community-based tourism schemes have also been launched by the regional government and covers Dawei, Myeik and Kawthaung townships. There have also been efforts to involve the sea gypsies in the scheme.
Over 210,000 tourists visited Bagan in the first six half of this year, which was over 90,000 more than same period last year, according to the Hotels and Tourism Directorate.
Bagan region receives over 300,000 tourists a year, and travel companies expect that number to grow because of its World Heritage status.
This year, the government also called for investments in tourism in Rakhine and Chin, two of the poorest states in the country. Rakhine is home to some of Myanmar’s most beautiful beaches such as Ngapali, while some of the most picturesque mountain attractions like Mount Victoria are found in Chin.
Since the government relaxed entry requirements for travelers from China, Japan, South Korea, Macao and Hong Kong in October last year, the number of tourists from those countries to Myanmar has risen by around 200,000 over last year. The majority of these tourists are from China.
Between January and June this year, Myanmar received 320,882 Chinese travelers, which is an increase of 187,185 compared to the same period last year. The country received over 900,000 travelers from 28 countries over the six-month period.
Myanmar received a total of 3.55 million foreign travellers in 2018, up from 3.44 million in 2017. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is expecting tourist arrivals to reach 4.5 million this year.