29 June 2020
There were about 400,000 entries into Myanmar in January 2020 but not even a hundred in April. Currently, many places are being reopened step by step while following COVID-19 preventive and social –distancing guidelines from MoHS starting from restaurants, to inns and hotels.
The national revenue was earned over 532.231 million USD from international tourists on the first-half of the 2020 fiscal year according to the report “Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Myanmar Tourism Sector” by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Comparing with the national revenue grossed within the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, about 54 % drops mentioned in the report.
A coordinating meeting for National Tourism Guidelines for COVID-19 Safe Services was also held at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Nay Pyi Taw on 12th June. The Union Ministers from Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Health and Sports and other officials were present at the meeting. The COVID-19 Myanmar Tourism Relief Plan, based on the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP), was drafted and it has been submitted to the national central committee at the meeting.
U Khine Aung Tun, Vice Chairman, Myanmar Tourism Federation, said, "MTF and other partner federations have been working together with the relevant ministry for different kinds of improvements and recovery projects. "Recovery Roadmap" will be the most vital program that we have been working on right now. We will be working on as the national guidelines on all of this coming survival, recovery and reopening circumstances. We will also be contacting to tourism sites and other important areas such as Shan State, Mandalay, Kayin State, etc. for potential reopening and reformations with new set of rules and measures regarding Covid-19. Even though it is such a hard time for the tourism sector to be able to thrive in these situations, we are really hoping for to make a comeback eventually, as our neighboring countries such as Republic of Korea (ROK), China and Thailand turns the table around to make this tourism sector well again with a breath of fresh air."
The tourism sites are going to be reopened to restart domestic tourism sector for the first step. Then, regional tourism with ASEAN countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam will be promoted and developed showing international community for COVID safe travel reason. The MoHS is also preparing for adventure tourism such as hiking, canoeing, rafting, bungee jumping and zip lining in Myanmar’s natural environments as a future travel trend within coming years. The Sports Tourism Committee is cooperating with MoHS to produce the Adventure Tourism SOP.
Dr. Than Naing Soe, Director, Health Knowledge Promotion Division (MOHS), said, “Based on the core principle of health care guidelines for COVID-19, the additional guidelines for different economic sector are set off observing the nature of the respective operation. The guidelines are being discussed by the officials from hotels and tourism sector and the officials of health department from MoHS. As soon as the draft guidelines are occurred, the free-testing are going to launch whether it is reasonable with the actual situation while implementing. The Ministry of Health and Sports and the respective experts are organizing to fit in with the core principle of COVID-19 health care guidelines for each specific sectors. So not only the tourism sector but also national economy will generate under the new normal health care guidelines.”
The rate of community and local transmissions of COVID-19 in Myanmar has decreased although there are still transmissions. So, MoHS are reducing restrictions slowly based on the transmission rate of the disease so that businesses may resume normally. And MoHS will also discuss health insurances to deter international tourists also. There has been inquires to Myanmar for the next tourism season as it was recently listed in Forbes Magazine’s list of 7 tourism destinations after the COVID pandemic.