Domestic Tourism In Myanmar Grows Faster Than Foreign Tourism

Myanmar has recently been growing as a tourist destination in Asia, and, while there has been some slowing of the growth of tourism, the tourism economy of Myanmar remains strong. A recent revelation from the Myanmar Domestic Pilgrimages and Tour Operations Association, reveals how the tourism scene of the country remains strong, and why people are more likely to see locals stay in a hotel near Yangon international airport, rather than foreigners.

The DPTOA, was recently tasked with calculating the number of domestic travellers in Myanmar, due to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism being unavailable to handle the issue, and crunched the numbers on the local tourist scene. According to the DPTOA, their calculations should be, at worst, 20% off the actual numbers.

In a statement made by U Myoe Gyi, Vice Chairman of the DPTOA, he said that his association crunched the numbers on the tourism scene in the country, and saw that the domestic tourism scene accounted for approximately 7.1M travellers in Myanmar, representing an increase of 1M from preceding years. He attributes this growth to the country’s recent political transition period which lasted from 2011 to 2012, which boosted domestic tourism numbers from 3.1M to this year’s value of 7.1M.

This growth rate, if it continues, is set to catch the international tourist scene of the country, which currently has a target of 7.5M visitors in 2020, as part of the tourism master plan of Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotel and Tourism. The international arrivals into the country, however, only total to about 2.9M visitors at 2016’s end, showing a notable difference between the domestic and international tourism scene.

He adds that the domestic tourism sector is in full swing at a slightly different timeframe than the foreign tourism sector, which runs from August to April.

According to U Myoe Gyi, domestic travellers now prefer staying at hotels, instead of the traditional monastery or guest house. He adds that this shift has little effect on the pilgrimage operators in the country, who do not see much competition in the hospitality buildings such as a hotel near Yangon international airport, due to both them and hotels benefitting from the increase in domestic traffic in the country.

He says that the number of pilgrims that travel throughout the country has been growing, with more and more domestic operators popping up, and more private arrangements being made in their wake.