Tourist arrivals to Myanmar hits record

A total of 660,000 foreign tourists visited Myanmar in 2005, hitting a record high in five years, the local Khit Myanmar News Journal reported Friday. Quoting the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the report said tourist arrivals were up from about 470,000 in 2001 and 2002, 590,000 in 2003 and 656,000 in 2004.

The tourists came in through entry points of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan as well as border points, it said, adding that cross-border tourists accounted for the majority.

In 2005, earning through tourism in the country rose to US$153 million, up 17 million from the previous year, official statistics show.

The figures also indicate that there are 596 hotels, motels and guest houses in Myanmar providing a total of over 18,500 rooms. The number of travel agencies in operation stands over 500.

More figures reveal that contracted foreign investment in the sector of hotels and tourism has so far amounted to US$1.06 billion since Myanmar started to open to such investment in late 1988. Of the investment, that in hotel projects amounted to over US$580 million.