Train Travel Increases In Myanmar
Tourism authorities say the shift toward democracy is the key factor that drives the increase of international tourism to Myanmar.
A local news service quoted chief of the Railway Police Force Yangon Central Railway Station, Win Maung, as saying: “Part of the increase is due to the fact we are placing a higher priority on welcoming foreigners and some foreigners are interested in studying Myanmar’s shift toward democracy.”
He noted that train travel is increasing to Mandalay, Bago, and Mawlamyine popular destinations for tourists visiting Yangon. There are now more who want to travel overland rather than by plane.
According to Ministry of Rail Transportation’s data, 21,524 foreign tourists travelled by train, between January and August, this year, compared to 12,000 during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism reported tourist arrivals particularly from west Europe increased by more than 20,000 this year.
Between 1 January and 5 September, this year, 452,660 tourists arrived at YangonInternationalAirport, the country’s main international hub. Of that, 90,072 came from west Europe, an increase of 30.28% from 69,135 during the same period last year.
France and the United Kingdom were the top markets. So far, this year, 20,031 French tourists and 18,041 British tourists visited Myanmar.
Increases are also reported this year from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. As of 5 September, the only decrease was in the number of Spanish tourists.
From east Europe, 5,619 tourists visited Myanmar.
However, Myanmar relies primarily on Asian visitors. As of 5 September, 298,398 Asian tourists passed through Yangon’s airport, which handles on average 1,800 travelers daily.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism expected 1.5 million visits this year and 2 million in 2014.
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