Myanmar is gaining momentum of a popular tourist destination while Bangladesh can capitalise on its neighbour’s booming tourism business with the help of existing direct flight connectivity.
A myriad of tourist spots are drawing foreign tourists including tour-loving Bangladeshis to visit Myanmar.
An initiative to boost tourism business between Bangladesh and Myanmar can be a boon for both the countries, said Kazi Wahidul Alam, editor, fortnightly tourism newspaper, The Bangladesh Monitor.
Taufiq Rahman, chief executive officer of Journey Plus, a tour operator, told the Dhaka Tribune Dhaka-Yangon direct air connectivity has opened up a huge scope to bring foreigners to Bangladesh.
“If tour operators and Bangladesh government take initiative, we can offer a special package for tourists visiting Myanmar.”
The visiting tourists in Myanmar would then be able to easily come to Bangladesh that would add to revenue earnings, he added.
The largest reclining Buddha, magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, Royal Kandougyi lake, Inya lake, Bogok market and British colonial heritage buildings are the ones that can captivate the holidaymakers.
When Myanmar was open to foreign investors in 2010, many have since been setting up their business firms. In line with that, Biman Bangladesh airlines have also started running Dhaka-Yangon direct flight.
Novoair, a private airliner of the country, launched its maiden international flight on Dhaka-Yangon-Dhaka route on December 1.
The management of the airline is happy with the way its air passengers are responding to its flight.
Mofizur Rahman, managing director of Novoair, said Myanmar, endowed in natural resources, and situated in the fastest growing region of the world, is opening up. Many global companies have already made their investment while many are trying to gain access.
“We are committed to making ways for Bangladeshi businessmen to explore opportunities there through smooth flight connectivity.”
“At the same time we want to promote people-to-people contact to facilitate tours,” he said. For many years, Myanmar witnessed 2,00,000-2,50,000 tourists that landed in the country through Yangon airport.
The total number of tourists including those that arrived in the country through border was between 6,00,000 and 8,00,000, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
From 2011 onward, the number of holidaymakers started to rise dramatically. In 2013, their total number reached 2 million while in 2014, it was 3 million.
Last year, around 5 million tourists visited Myanmar. The trend Myanmarian authority to anticipate that by 2020, the number of foreign visitors would stand at 10 million.
Now every year, around one million new tourist pay a visit to the country.
To attract foreign tourists, Myanmar has taken a lot of initiatives for the development of tourists spots. Now they are running a project named “8th Year Mega project” for tourism development with the assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) which started in 2012.
The construction of new international airport, modern hotel, roads renovation is going on rapidly under the project.
Though Myanmar used to be an unknown, unloved, forgotten country, its recent initiatives to ease visa helped a lot to bring tourists to this country.
Located right between two of Asia’s major tourist destinations: India and Thailand, Myanmar has gone from bust to boom in just a few years.
Sohail Majid, head of marketing of Novoair, said as Yangon is a very exotic tourist location for travellers, the number of tourists has increased by one million every year on an average over the last three years.
More than 8,00,000 tourists entered Myanmar by air and water while more than 2.2 million visited the country through land, according to the tourism ministry.
Tourist arrival is the highest in Yangon, Mandalay, Inlay and Bagan hotel zones, added the source.
Tourist arrival through Yangon International Airport recorded 7,59,181 in the first nine months from January through September last year, up 82,174 from 6,77,007 tourists in the same period of the previous year.
A lot of hotels are sprouting up across Myanmar to meet the need for accommodation of the increasing number of tourists, according to the Myanmar Hoteliers Association.
Meanwhile, the government has established 17 hotel zones in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan regions, mostly popular for tourist destinations.