彬乌伦商业遭受袭击的后遗症

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Pyin Oo Lwin businesses suffer after-effects of attack
Businesses in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Region, have been suffering from a severe drop in customers since the attacks by three ethnic armed groups on August 15, say townspeople and officials of social organisations.

The attacks hit the military’s Defence Services Technological Academy, toll gates and checkpoints in and around the town.

Town officials and non-governmental organisations held a press conference on Tuesday to draw attention to the issue.

“Maymyo, also known as Pyin Oo Lwin, is a place that many tourists, local and foreign, visit. Sales were good for businesses before the attack. Now, the city looks empty,” said Sayadaw U Seitta, a senior monk from the Asia Alinn Yaung (Asia Light Foundation) in Pyin Oo Lwin.

“After the attack, people from across the country have avoided coming to Pyin Oo Lwin due to rumours. Actually, the town is now stable and peaceful. There are no longer problems,” said Sayadaw U Seitta.

People mistakenly think that the town is a battleground due to false information spread on the internet, so businesses are suffering and the town now faces a situation in which people lose jobs, said U Ko Gyi, a member of the Sein Lan Pyin Oo Lwin environmental group.

“Now, both the Tatmadaw [military] and the police are providing security in the town, but people are spreading rumours on the internet that there is no security. In fact, the town is peaceful now and residents are going about their businesses normally. There isn’t even a need for security patrols to carry firearms,” U Ko Gyi said.

“After the surprise attacks, tours to visit Pyin Oo Lwin and hotel bookings were cancelled. Although the monsoon is considered the off-peak season, visitor arrivals declined more than half the number reached in previous rainy seasons, said U Wai Da, secretary of the Pyin Oo Lwin Hotel Zone Association.

The town’s economy relies on travel operators and related businesses, so the town’s economy will decline if visitor arrivals continue falling, U Wai Da said.

While tourism had picked up a little through efforts to attract Chinese, South Korean, Japanese travellers to offset the decline in tourists from western countries, the town’s tourism industry now faces another crisis following the attacks, U Wai Da added.