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Burma emerging as a major travel destination in Asia

Burma has been rebounding from the impact of sanctions eased by European countries three years ago and is emerging as a favored travel destination in Asia.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the sector has become a major source of the country’s revenue, and Burma is expected to receive three million travellers in 2014.

Before 2011, only fewer than 800,000 tourists visited the country per annum. Yet, as the country pushes forward with its comprehensive reforms and opening-up policy, the number of tourists has been rising sharply in recent years.

In 2013, the gross turnover of the tourism industry reached US$926, up 130 percent compared to 2012. The country aspires to bring the number of visitors further to five million in 2015, according to the ministry.

“Burma is a country with beautiful scenery, but it has only recently been noticed by the rest of the world. Many foreigners are curious and interested about this country, which has just started promoting its tourism sector. Burma is looking forward to a great future,” said Ohn Mying from the Rangon Bureau of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Within three years of accelerated reforms, Burma has opened 22 international air routes, bringing the country closer to the rest of the world and also has promoted the development of its tourism industry.

“All sectors are benefiting from tourism, including hotels, travel agencies, travel guides and the transportation department. Tourism is benefiting the whole nation,” said Ohn Mying.

Meanwhile, Chinese visitors have accounted for a large proportion in the total number of foreign visitors to Burma. In many scenic spots and souvenir markets, signboards written in Chinese are seen everywhere.

Burma is expected to be a major destination for Chinese travelers in the near future, as the cooperation in the tourism sector is leaping forward between the two countries, according to Ohn Mying.