Tourism industry to oppose $1,000 show-money policy

Writer: 
Theingi Win Tin
The immigration counter at Yangon International Airport.

Despite Myanmar’s plans to let tourists from Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Macao enjoy visa free visits, a planned directive requiring tourists to have US$1,000 in hand as show money should not be implemented, commented the vice chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation.

"We welcome the move to allow free visas. It should be so. But carrying of US$1,000 as show money is impossible because nowadays, everyone uses cards. Few people carry cash. If a family of four comes, how can they carry US$1,000 each? The world is changing. Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Macao are fast developing. Japanese passport is No.1 in the world. Those holding Japanese passports can go to 189 countries without a visa. As use of cards is most common, no one will carry cash. So this (directive) should not be issued," said vice chairman Khin Aung Tun.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, visa free will start as a one-year trial period on October 1. Tourists from Japan, South Korea and China need to present US$1,000 as show money at the airport, and a Chinese tourist needs to pay US$50 as a fee for visa on arrival.

"The matter of show money is outdated. Most travellers use credit cards. In the past, Myanmar citizens had to carry cash as show money when they went to Thailand. But that system has long been abolished," said Aye Kyaw, vice chairman of Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association.

He added that despite his 28 years in tourism experience, he had never heard such a matter of show money in travelling to other countries.