Price hikes in southern Shan keep local tourists away

Despite the increase in foreign tourism in Taunggyi, Inle, Kalaw and other destinations in southern Shan State, price hikes have kept many local visitors away from these places, according to sources in the travel and tourism sector.

“Hotels in Inle are expensive. Those in Kalaw are more expensive. So we cannot offer packages to all classes of people, [especially] local people]. It costs at least over US$100 to visit Taunggyi,” said a representative of Caravan Myanmar Tour Co.

Currently, the total cost of a one-night, two-day trip from Yangon to Ngwe Saung Beach is $65 per person, and a trip of the same duration from Yangon to Chaungtha Beach costs $85 per person. Thus, only middle-class people can afford to visit these places.

“Kalaw has seen more tourists. Many travel through in nearby villages. As for local visitors, they just stop for a while, but they rarely visit nearby villages. There are hotels with fair prices, but in high season, rooms are full and prices rise,” said Naung Naung Han, General Secretary of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.

Since hotels in Inle Lake are built to meet foreign tourists’ tastes, prices are high. Thus, most local visitors stay in nearby Nyaung Shwe in order to visit Inle Lake.