Government aids ailing tourism sector

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MHT) has announced measures to promote domestic travel and revive Myanmar’s struggling tourism sector. Although international flights are still grounded and may remain so for several months, MHT deputy minister U Tin Latt told the Myanmar Times that several restrictions on domestic travel and leisure will soon end. These include ending domestic travel restrictions between states and regions, re-opening several popular destinations, and incentivizing airlines, tour operators, and other to travel-related businesses to offer special discounts to customers.

In many ways, the new measures align with the three-phase tourism reconstruction plan the government outlined in June. Other milestones have yet to be reached. According to the plan’s timeline, limited international travel between certain ASEAN partners—namely Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam—is supposed to resume by August. Yet the moratorium on international flights and visas (save for a few special exemptions) has been officially extended until at least the end of July. In fact, speaking to the National Tourism Development Central Committee, Vice President Henry Van Thio said the international flight ban could last until October. However, the vice president did discuss potential “travel bubbles” in which Myanmar could partner with countries including Japan, Korea, and China for safe tourist exchanges. In the meantime, promoting domestic travel may be the best hope for the once-booming sector.

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