TOURIST arrivals were up almost 25 percent in the first five months of the year following a record-breaking 2010, figures from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism show, and industry sources say they are confident of sustained growth over the next 18 months.
From January 1 to the end of May, 151,084 tourists visited the country, a 24.3pc increase on the same period in 2010, and the industry is on track to better the 295,174 foreign tourists who visited through the Yangon gateway last year.
U Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, secretary of the Myanmar Marketing Committee (MMC), said the industry was “in good spirits” and anticipating an increase of “at least 20-25pc” in the 2011-12 fiscal year, which ends March 31.
“They are [investing] their resources in services and products in anticipation of increased business in 2012. Provided that the political climate remains relatively stable, based on the trend of increasing tourist arrivals we are looking forward to having 350,000 to 375,000 tourists in 2012,” he said.
He said an increase in capacity on both international and domestic air routes would support growth, but further investment in infrastructure was needed to handle an increase in tourist numbers.
“We would like to see some European airlines operating directly to Yangon,” he said. “To match the growth in air capacity, we will need more hotels and newer vehicles for transportation services.”
Mr Frank Janmaat, general manager and country director of KMA Hotels Group, said hotel occupancy rates at most destinations had increased considerably in the past six months.
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