Myanmar’s budding tourism industry has received a boost with its military government allowing visas on arrival.
Normally, tourist visas are arranged days in advance at a Myamar embassy overseas. Now, they will be available at Yangon and Mandalay airports for US$30 and are valid for 28 days.
Although blessed with an abundance of natural attractions and gleaming Buddhist temples, the country’s arrivals status pales beside neighbouring Thailand, which boasted 14.1 million tourists in 2009.
Prospective visitors have been turned off by its extreme poverty, unflinching dictatorial leadership, long-term imprisonment of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and record of human rights abuses.
A drive to privatise industries such as air travel has been picking up steam as Myanmar officials struggle to revitalise one of Asia poorest economies.
Margie T Logarta