CNI News

18 January 2024

Among the regular tourist destinations, tourists entered stable places by hundreds of thousands, but there are hardly any tourists who enter unstable regions, according to tourism and hotel operators.

Of the regions where most of tourists tended to go to, northern part of Shan state and Rakhine State have become the places where tourist arrivals have been sharply reduced due to the battles that have been taking place since October, 2023, tourism and hotel operators told CNI News.

Over 1,400,000 tourists from local and abroad entered southern and eastern Shan State and tourists increased by 40 percent in 2023 than in 2022. 

However, there were few tourists who entered nortern Shan State in 2023 because of battles although a lot of tourists entered the region in 2022, U Zaw Zaw, Northern Shan State Hotel Entrepreneurs Association, told CNI News.

While seeing the Tazaungdaing Festival in Taunggyi, southern Shan State

" 2022 is the year when turists entered northern Shan State most. Rooms were full with tourists. You would get a room only if you booked two or three days in advance. It mainly depends on stability. There are few battles in southern and eastern Shan State. Because this is the tourist season as well, guests will go there. But on the other hand, in northern Shan State, battles are breaking out and bridges have been damaged. So, tourists don't come. It's a wide gap. It's been kind of reverse." he said.

Although there is a temporary ceasefire between the Tatmadaw and the Three Brotherhood Alliance (MNDAA, TNLA and AA) in northern Shan state, battles are still breaking out in some places. 

Because there have been no peace in northern Shan State at present, it would take time to an extent to develop tourism of the region, he said.

Nearly 500,000 tourists local and abroad entered the Bagan region in 2023.

A lot of tourists entered Rakhine State during Thingyan, Tazaungdaing and December holidays in the past. However, the battles between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army (AA) resumed on 13th November 2023 after which tourist arrivals in Rakhine State were reduced, a person who is doing business of hotel and tourism, told CNI News.

While seeing tourists at the beach

" It's hard to say at a time like this. There are only people who go to Thandwe and Ngapali. Those who come to Nagpali just come by flight" he said.

The period from October to April has been designated as the tourist season of Myanmar. However, because the battles are breaking out in the season, not only tourists don't come, restaurant and hotel industries depending on tourists are also in trouble reportedly.

" According to the statistics from the immigration department, in 2023 the number of tourists who entered Myanmar was more than one million. 28 million tourists entered Thailand. More tourists entered Malaysia as well. Three or four million tourists entered Cambodia and Laos each and so did Vietnam. Although one million tourists entered, tourists had to enter mainly through the Yangon Airport. About 20,000 tourists only entered Myanmar each month. So, the number of tourists who entered Myanmar is 300,000 at most. Most border gates have been closed in 2023. It is unlikely that one million tourists entered Myanmar." said U Thet Lwin Toe, a tourism entrepreneur, to CNI News.

The number of foreign tourists who entered Myanmar in 2023 was until over 1,200,000 reportedly. 280,000 foreign tourists entered Myanmar by flight and by ship with visa and nearly 1,000,000 entered with border passes.

More than 200,000 foreign tourists only entered Myanmar in 2022 and the arrival of foreign tourists in 2023 increased by five times than in 2022.