Myanmar to reopen to tourism

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Myanmar (formerly Burma) has announced its reopening to tourism in 2022, but the difficulties encountered by the country have complicated this return home.


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Burmese tourism will reopen

Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is gearing up for a return to tourists. In 2012, the country opened up to the outside world for the first time in more than 25 years. As I mentioned before, my wife and I visited Yangon (formerly Rangoon) shortly after it reopened to the world. We were a few days away from Anthony Bourdain who was filming his first episode of his new series, Parts Unknown. There were no ATMs back then, limited internet, virtually no cell phone service, and almost no foreigners.

Coca-Cola had arrived two days before us, to explain how closed the country was.

In fact, the now infamous Myanmar Currency Error Fares that allowed us to fly from RGN to LAX in Business Class for $ 400 was the very first post I wrote here and started this blog there. almost ten years ago.

In the years since our visit, Myanmar has grown. They added hotel chains, made the visa process easier and easier to access money. Before the reopening, only 800,000 visitors (regional with diplomatic ties to Myanmar) had visited, with slight growth over the previous half-decade. In 2016, this number had increased by almost 250% to reach over 1.9 billion, standing at nearly 1.5 billion until 2019.

The country had again closed its borders during the pandemic in early 2020.

Myanmar COVID Entry Requirements

Current COVID restrictions require a negative test within 72 hours of arrival with additional testing three and seven days of arrival. Depending on the results of these tests, a quarantine of up to 14 days may be required. In the future, vaccination will be compulsory for entry.

“We plan to reopen tourism for vaccinated tourists if plans are well prepared for safe and convenient travel,” Zeyar Htun, deputy director of the public relations and information department at the Ministry of Tourism, told CNN Travel. Hospitality and Tourism. . “

The COVID closures were of particular concern less for booming tourist destinations like Inle Lake, and more for religious pilgrimages to the many temples across the country.

The military junta rolls out the red carpet

Tragically, in February 2021, a coup d’état took place in the country placing administrative authority under a military junta. Political unrest is nothing new in Southeast Asia over the past decades, I have been to Thailand twice under military rule. But the problems in some regions, especially border regions and areas like Kayin State, remained in dire conditions.

However, the coup itself is concerning. For tourists worried about COVID, the evacuation of embassy staff, the presence of military courts and the endangered safety of free speech advocates are far more serious.

Nevertheless, the Junta wishes to welcome again vaccinated tourists in order to normalize the country and revive the industry which has brought new money to the territory.

Conclusion

My wife and I loved Myanmar, Matthew too. It was exciting to see a piece of Asia before Starbucks and McDonald’s took over and it kind of remained that way. I also found that the strides made by Aung San Suu Kyi to open up her country, help install democracy, and introduce this wonderful place to foreigners was inspiring. That said, now is not a good time to visit even if you are fully vaccinated, have a negative COVID test, and feel comfortable traveling without the security of diplomatic relations with the United States ( and other Western countries.) This reopening is a welcome sign for religious pilgrims. but most will find it inappropriate.

What do you think? Have you been to Burma? Would you go in the current climate? If not, do you plan to go when circumstances change?


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