From the perspective of the Myanmar government, tourism would have set off long time ago. But promotional efforts were met by strong opposition in the mid 1990s when the NLD (National League for Democracy with Aung San Suu Kyi) called for a tourism boycott due to human rights violations committed in the name of tourism. The Myanmar government had encouraged tourism by establishing the Myanmar Tourism Law in 1990 and the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in 1992. Since then private entrepreneurs and foreign investors developed tourism infrastructures in the country. The Visit Myanmar Year campaign was initiated in 1996 by the government, a promotional campaign which the private sector actively participated in, and democracy groups actively (and successfully) opposed.
Since then international visitor arrivals to Myanmar have slowly increased to 791,500 visitors in 2010. This is a very small number compared with other countries in Southeast Asia. In 2010 Laos and Cambodia received 2.5 million tourists, Vietnam 5 million and Thailand nearly 16 million tourists (ASEAN Tourism Statistics 2011, see Table below).
We encourage you to use the government's material about tourism in Myanmar and to read the attached Visitors' Guides. In this way readers will learn what businesses and locations are promoted by the Government of the Union of Myanmar. This information has also been embedded in our Tourism Directory - businesses mentioned in the guidebooks are marked accordingly in our tourism directory.
Minister H.E U Tint Hsan
Message from the Honorable Minister for Hotels and Tourism and for Sports
As the Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism and for Sports, it gives me great pleasure to extend my best wishes and warm regards to you all for promoting Myanmar as a world renowned tourist destination.
Being the largest country in the Southeast Asia, Myanmar possesses rich fertile land, rich national resources, thousands of ancient Golden Pagodas, historical and cultural monuments. It is needless to say that these are our abundant and diverse tourism resources and Myanmar Tourism, unlike others, is based on culture, nature and leisure.
Collective and concerted efforts put in promoting Myanmar as a tourist destination by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Myanmar Hotel and Travel Associations together with Myanmar Marketing Committee, have achieved steady annual growth in the number of nearly 800,000 visitor arrivals in 2010 which was the highest number of tourist arrivals in Myanmar compared with previous years.
However, it has not escalated to the significant growth and we surely need to improve the efficiency of cooperation among us as well as international and regional organizations.
Indeed, I am overwhelmed with the continuous support and cooperation of the private sector in the tourism and hospitality industry. In line with the promotional marketing strategies befitting to the present day challenges of globalization and climatic changes, I take this opportunity to encourage the key stakeholders in the industry to be innovative in continuously promoting Myanmar to the world travelers as a unique cultural-historical- nature based tourist destination in Asia not only for intra regional travel but also in sourcing the niche market.
I look forward with confidence and using the experience and tremendous efforts of strong public and private partnership for the success of showcasing our unique culture, the warmth of its people and their hospitality which will be kept in the hearts and minds of thousands of travelers around the world.
Best wishes and warm regards,
U Tint Hsan
Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism and for Sports
For more information - http://www.myanmartourism.org