Myanmar courts Japanese, South Korean tourists with visa-free access

Children participate in a karate competition in Yangon.
Children participate in a karate competition in Yangon.

Myanmar authorities are planning to grant visa-free access to Japanese and South Korean tourists, as well as visa-on-arrival service for Chinese visitors who come on group tours.

The move, which was initiated in a discussion between the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Naypyidaw earlier this month, comes as the government scrambles to make up for losses Myanmar’s tourism industry has suffered since the military’s displacement of over 700,000 Rohingya began last year.

By the end of April, tourism from Eastern Europe had fallen by eight percent compared to last year, and tourism from Western Europe had fallen by 26 percent. Meanwhile, tourism from many Asian countries has been rising.

While dates for the new policies have not yet been announced, TTR Weekly reported this week that they are expected to begin before Myanmar’s tourist season begins in October.

“It will certainly lead to an increase of visitors from these nations, as we witnessed an increase from other countries such as Singapore when visa-free travel was introduced,” the chairperson of Myanmar Tourism Marketing told the travel news site.

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