Government announces plan to rebuild tourism sector

The government has detailed a three phase plan to rebuild a tourism industry shattered by the global Covid-19 pandemic. The measures, which began in April, will be carried out until January 2021. They include loans and financial assistance for companies in the sector, gradual easing of travel restrictions and cooperation with ASEAN neighbors to encourage more people to travel.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the plan to reopen Myanmar for travel is motivated by an apparent decline in the spread of Covid-19. Phase 1 began in April, when the government began giving soft loans to businesses in the sector. Phase 2, which will take place between June and August, involves lifting restrictions on Myanmar travel and working with Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to draw visitors from those countries. Phase 3, from August to next January, will involve further lifting restrictions on international travel and reinstating visa privileges for visitors from certain countries.

Tourism was one of the first industries affected by the pandemic as the disease began to spread within China, which usually accounts for the largest share of Myanmar’s visitors. Between 2018 and 2019, the government introduced new visa privileges for China, and several airlines expanded their routes specifically to serve the growing number of Chinese travelers. The number of visitors dropped by 44 percent between January and April, according to data reported by the Myanmar Times. Although most domestic airlines have resumed flights to destinations within the country, all international flights (except for certain diplomatic missions) remain grounded until June 15.

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