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The Asian country of Burma has clawed its way back from its previous reputation as a no-go destination to become a firm favourite with tourists, according to official figures.
Last year Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, received a record number of tourists, with one million visitors descending on the country to feast their eyes on impressive ancient sites including the temple complex at Bagan, the Buddhist stupas of Yangon and the impressive city of Mandalay.
Tourism numbers for 2012 are a significant increase on the 816,000 travellers who visited Burma in 2011, and this rise is said to have been partly attributed to pro-democracy politician Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest.
The data also shows that revenue generated from tourism shot up by 67% year-on-year, rising to £336 million in 2012 from £201 million in 2011. Despite the positive tourism figures, accommodation providers in the country are struggling to keep up, as the result of the gulf between supply and demand.
As an example there are 25,358 registered hotel rooms across Burma with just 2,097 and 937 rooms in the popular destinations of Bagan and Nyaung Shwe respectively. However, Phyoe Wai Yar Zar of the Myanmar Tourism Board, argued that the country is able to meet growing demand from tourists. “Our current capacity can handle it very well. It is not the optimum yet,” he said.
“This is a very outstanding year for the industry. We have never experienced it before,” he added. The country’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has forecast that visitor numbers will climb even further this year, reaching as total of 1.5 million for 2013. If you are planning a holiday abroad, it’s important to secure travel insurance before you leave, to protect yourself financially if you have an accident or are the victim of crime.
Date Created: 23/01/2013