Tourism operators expect recovery in two years at best

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Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda is seen in the distance.
Photo: Zarni Phyo

Myanmar’s tourism industry is expected to remain closed for the rest of the year due to COVID-19 restrictions, operators said.

The recovery of the sector depends on the country’s ability to control and contain the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, far fewer foreign tourists are expected over the next two years.

“It may be possible for local people to start making trips in October if the pandemic is controlled but rather than in groups, most people will only travel with their families. It would be hard to restart both inbound and outbound tours,” said U Thet Lwin Toe, an industry insider based in Yangon.

Because of COVID-19, tour packages offered in the past will need to change and the industry will have to be more innovative with their services to generate revenue, he said.

Daw Aye Thida Moe, vice chair of the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, said: “It is impossible for Myanmar tourism to return to normal this year as there will be less foreign clients.

Even if the tourism sector starts operating again after the COVID-10 crisis, only the people from neighbouring countries will come. We expect the situations to return to normal in two years at best and are cooperating with the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism for the recovery plans.”

Daw Hla Darli Khin of Toedi Tourism believes tourists from the region might return by the end of the year, but for operators of outbound tours, recovery can be expected by Thingyan next year.

Read the full article at Myanmar Times:

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