Myanmar: Destination Analysis
Among Russian tourist Myanmar is less popular country in Southeast Asia. However, Myanmar (several years ago known as Burma) is successfully increasing tourism popularity, although not so fast as, for example, neighboring Vietnam,
According to the official tourism statistics of Myanmar, in 2016 this country hosted 5,487 Russian tourists, which is 0.43% of the total tourist flow. This, however, is more than the number of Austrians (4,857) or New Zealanders (5,026), who arrived in Myanmar that year. Moreover, in the list of official statistics of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar in the section “Eastern European Countries” there are only two columns - “Russia” and “other countries” (these “other” Eastern European countries gave Myanmar a total of 12 thousand tourists in 2016). In general, almost 68% of the tourist traffic to Myanmar is provided by Asian countries.
Myanmar is a rather expensive and very interesting destination on the Russian market, attracting mainly experienced tourists who need exotic and who want to get acquainted with the rich local religious culture. As a rule, Russian tourists choose a combination of excursion program in Myanmar with a visit to the country’s beach resorts (the most popular of which is Ngapali) or a combination of Myanmar with other countries, for example, with Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Now, it is much easier for tourists to travel to Myanmar from Thailand by land routs: Myanmar immigration authorities have issued new rules that facilitate the crossing of the Thai-Burmese land border at the three main crossing points. If earlier tourists who entered Myanmar were forced to return through the same border crossing point, now this requirement has been removed. Tourists will be able to enter through one point and return through another.
Myanmar is visited by tourists interested in oriental cultural traditions, historical sites, tropical nature and a pleasant beach holiday. Especially “green” kind of tourism is developed here. The valleys of the Irrawaddy and Salween rivers, Alangdo-Katla National Park - these areas are very attractive for tourists. Also, coastal islands, especially in the Andaman Sea are quite popular. There is a tourist destination in Myanmar, which can be called ethnographic. Tourists willingly visit small villages that live according to ancient traditions. In such settlements, traditional bazaars periodically gather, where you can buy rare handmade items.
Beach kind of tourism in Myanmar has also very good prospects, but the infrastructure is still poorly developed, so most of the country’s beaches are wild. But many tourists especially like these.
There are no direct flights from Russia to Myanmar. Several European and Asian airlines fly to the country, but these options are not cheap, with at least two changes - one in Europe and one in Asia.
Another way is the flight through the countries of Southeast Asia (most often Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore). There are 6-7 flights of various airlines per day from Bangkok to Yangon. There are also daily flights to Yangon from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Recently, Vietnam Airlines launched flights from Hanoi to Yangon and became perhaps the most convenient carrier for Russian tourists who want to get to this country.
Experts note that the appearance of a direct flight to Myanmar could be a serious impetus for the development of tourism in this country.
There are still very few good roads in Myanmar, so tourists prefer to transport between cities (where the main attractions of the country are located) by airplanes. At the same time, the local airlines are quite reliable and air travel is very comfortable and similar to the “air bus”. Three airlines fly inside the country - Yangon Airways, Bagan Airways and Air Mandalay, but their services are very expensive. The railway option of moving across Myanmar is much more affordable and you can get by train to anywhere in the country. In addition, water transport is well developed - passenger ships go along the Irrawaddy, Chindwin, Thanlvin and other rivers.
Russian tourists need a visa to enter Myanmar. It can be obtained upon arrival at Yangon Airport, if you pre-arrange a visa permition on the website of the Ministry of Immigration and the population of Myanmar.
Myanmar belongs to the economically underdeveloped states, tourism began to develop there recently, so the country’s hotels may not have sufficient luxury and wealth. Myanmar hotels are concentrated in the main resort areas of the country - in the cities of Yangon, Bagan, in the vicinity of Inle Lake and in Ngapali. The rooms have everything you need for rest. However, the hotel base is smaller than in neighboring Vietnam and Cambodia. The main category of hotels is 3 * with a low level of service. But the lack of service is more compensated by sincere smiles and benevolence of the Burmese.
Most hotels have swimming pools and free internet, the service in beach hotels is higher than in urban ones. Of course, in five-star hotels (Hyatt, Hilton, Savoy) the service complies with world standards. But tourists go to Myanmar not for super comfortable conditions, but to enjoy nature and the amazing sights of the “country of pagodas”.
Myanmar, as a tourist destination, is mainly offered by tour operators specializing in Southeast Asian countries or individual tourism: Oriental Discovery Group, Art Tour, Vand International, Karlson Tourism, MIRACLE, Colors of the World, Allure, Antiktravel, CYPLING, ITM group - Center.
Tours to Myanmar are also offered by such tour operators of mass destinations as Russian Express and Intourist.
Ethnic conflicts in Myanmar was discussed during the media briefing at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019.
Although 2018 has been a challenging year for Myanmar Tourism, high hopes and strong belief remain across the country that tourism will bring positive change to this culturally diverse nation.
According to the market experts, in the new future Myanmar will remain as the destination of individual tourism.