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Showing posts with label Myanmar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Myanmar. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#Myanmar, (Burma) registers more tourist arrivals

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Tourists coming to Myanmar during the first months of this year have increased by 22 percent over the same period of last year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
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 “We got more than 600,000 international visitors at the end of February, the number of which was greater than the same period in 2016,” U Myint Htwe, director from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism told The Myanmar Times.

However, the overall tourist arrivals last year were only 2.9 million, a decline of 38pc in comparison to the 4.68 million visitors in 2015, according to a new system of collecting data by the ministry, which did not include day trippers with border passes.


“The previous system counted visitors coming through international border checkpoints. But this year’s figures were systematically categorized into tourists, business travelers, day trippers,” according to U Ohn Maung, Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism, who made this comment at the recently held ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore.  

“However, the overall tourism outlooks are very good, despite the 38pc decline due to a different way of counting foreign visitors,” Ma Hnin Hlwar Kyaw Win, sales manager from Myanmar Tourism Services Company told The Myanmar Times. She said that few visitors to Myanmar are coming from Russia and Japan but tourists from other countries have increased.
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Source - mmtimes
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Myanmar - Mrauk-U still struggling to woo tourists

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Mrauk-U, a town surrounded by hills in northern Rakhine State, is known as the ‘Stone City’. It was given the name because its 14th-century pagodas are made of stone.
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Mrauk-U is home to 1552 ancient stone pagodas – historic structures that are still standing strong today, owing to the wisdom of the old Rakhine kings who ordered them to be built from stone that can withstand the weather on top of the hills.
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“These pagodas are over 800 years old, but younger than those in Bagan in the Mandalay Region that were built in the 11th century,” local hotelier U Hla Myint from the Mrauk-U Princess Hotel said.
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Although Mrauk-U’s pagodas are similar to Bagan’s pagodas in being located close to residential areas, giving the location huge tourism potential, Mrauk-U has not attained international stardom like Bagan.
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Mrauk-U’s tourist arrival numbers are still much lower. While Bagan recorded 280,000 tourists in 2016, Mrauk-U only managed to hit 4000 the whole of last year.
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Hoteliers said the reason for the poor numbers was the instability affecting Rakhine, even in areas far from Mrauk-U, since 2012.
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Since the crisis that brought political instability, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism imposed an order prohibiting hotels from accepting guests without official permission.
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Foreign ministries abroad also notified their citizens of the danger in Rakhine and discouraged them from visiting the state.
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Tourism in Mrauk-U has not been able to recover since then, even though the town is more developed, better connected, and even has an airport in the pipeline.
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Rakhine Hoteliers Association member Daw Ohnmar Khin said travellers needed to be informed that Mrauk-U was safe.
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 She said there should be more familiarisation trips organised with the collaboration of hotels and tour companies.
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“For Mrauk-U’s tourism growth, we need political stability. But we also need to get the right information out to let people know that Mrauk-U is a safe place to visit.
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“Not everyone knows about us so we need better promotion. We need to help travel agents bring visitors here,” she said.
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Mrauk-U has several prominent heritage sites such as the palace, Shit-thaung (80,000 Buddha images) Pagoda, Htukkanthein Pagoda, Koe-thaung (90,000 Buddha images) Pagoda and Laungbanpyauk Pagoda.
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In the Chin ethnic villages in Mrauk-U, visitors can meet women who have kept the tradition of having tattoos on their faces. For beautiful sceneries, tourists can visit the Laymro River that has water so clear the stones on the river bed can be seen.
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In 1996, local authorities first applied to UNESCO to get Mrauk-U’s archaeological zone recognised as a world heritage site, but were unsuccessful.
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The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library of Mrauk-U is now trying again, with a team of experts conducting surveying work such as 3D mapping of the ancient architectural and cultural site, to draft a new application.
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There had been some conservation challenges when work was carried out to restore some of the ancient pagodas in Mrauk-U.
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One example was the the loss of the Shit-thaung Pagoda’s heritage value when conservation was not properly done.
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There were also concerns by nearby locals that they would be forced to move if the sites became UNESCO world heritage sites, Mrauk-U guide association chair U Kyaw Hla Maung said.
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“The people are worried about possible relocation. The authorities should talk to them and hear their views and suggestions before proceeding.
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“Do it like what State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi suggested for Bagan. Then they can also educate the people and help them understand why the UNESCO listing is a good thing,” he said.
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U Hla Myint said tourism would bring prosperity to the locals, who could sell crafts and find jobs in tourism-related businesses.
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Source - The Myanmar Times
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mae Sot, Northern Thailand’s gateway to Myanmar.

Mae Sot, Northern Thailand’s gateway to Myanmar.
Mae Sot is a border town 5 km from the border with Myanmar and is located in Tak Province around 600 Km from Bangkok. The area around Mae Sot boasts some of the most pristine and rugged mountains and dense tropical jungles in Thailand with a huge variety of wildlife preserves, rivers, hot springs, waterfalls and national parks.

Places to visit include the famous natural hot springs at Mae Kasa just a short 15km drive from Mae Sot. A great place for walking around to take in the sights and picnic areas.

Phra Charoen Waterfall located about 25 km from Mae Sot is a beautiful waterfall featuring 97 steps with a trail leading you through lush tropical jungle.

Tarawak Waterfall, part of the Ti Lor Sor waterfalls is also is a great place with winding trails and various spots to rest and have a picnic.

Highland Farm Gibbon and wildlife sanctuary takes in and cares for rescued mistreated, abandoned and sick gibbons and is set in beautiful surroundings a lot of which was replanted by the owners. This is a wonderful place to meet with and learn about the gibbons and local wildlife preservation. The sanctuary also takes care of rescued bears, birds, monkeys and foxes.

Temples of Thai and Burmese style are varied and numerous around the area. Close to the border with Myanmar there is a Buddhist temple with the huge reclining Buddha. Continue down and a short drive away you will discover a pagoda and Buddha’s footprint.

Rim Moei Border market runs along the Thai side of the Thai Mayanmar border Moie River and is filled with all kinds of goods from Myanmar, Thailand and China. Products include rubies and many other precious gemstones from Myanmar and other contraband and is a main trading place for bulk traders there. A very interesting place to visit. For a small fee and passport in hand you can cross into Myanmar for the day over the Friendship Bridge which connects Thailand with the Myanmar border town of Myawaddy.

Mae Sot Market in the centre of town offers an amazing cultural mix of Thai/Burmese products including locally made handicrafts and textiles by the local hill tribes, frogs, turtles, eels
(usually live), chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and many small jade and gem shops.

As well as the rich natural beauty of the area there are many different traditional Thai customs of the local northern hill tribes living the quiet rural lifestyle, in particular the Karen and Hmong tribes. With these qualities Mae Sot and Tak Province offers truly amazing experiences for travellers who want to see and contact with nature, the local people and traditional Thai culture.

Mae Sot is largely unknown to the majority of visitors to Thailand but will continue to develop due to it being one of the only two land border crossings and is the main trade gateway into Myanmar which is gradually opening its doors to the world after decades of isolation. There are numerous domestic and international NGOs based in the area to help cope with the thousands of refugees displaced by the years of internal conflict.

For those who want to get involved with volunteer work there are several local projects and outreach programs that need all the help they can get whether it be actual volunteer work or donations for the many orphans and refugee children and families.
Several projects are being planned in the area to improve the general living conditions and education of the poorest local communities with a focus on saving and restoring local traditions and customs, wildlife conservation, environmental protection awareness, whilst at the same time offering visitors a truly rich and rewarding experience watch this space.

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