Infrastructure crucial to tourism: minister

Myanmar received 3 million tourist arrivals last year, a 51 per cent increase on the previous year, according to Htay Aung, the minister for hotels and tourism, adding that infrastructure must improve if the sector is to grow.

Htay Aung said: “Basic infrastructure projects play a crucial role in the development of tourism as the country sees a massive influx of visitors.” 

Hosting the Asean Tourism Forum 2015 in January could contribute a lot to the development of the sector, he added. 

Chua Wee Phong, chairman of Sphere Conferences, said: “World tourist arrivals grew by 5 per cent in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation. Tourism grew fastest [at 6 per cent] in the Asia-Pacific region. Myanmar received tourist arrivals of 2 million in 2013, a 93 per cent increase compared to the previous year and a 158 per cent increase compared to 2010.” 

Yangon received about 820,000 visitors, bringing to light the city's infrastructural shortcomings, he said. 

Dr Nay Zaw Aung, managing director from Clover Hotels Group, said: “Myanmar’s economy has seen a rapid growth during the five years since 2010. Meanwhile, the current period is an exciting time for the hotel and tourist sector along with the general election scheduled for November. I believe that the country will see a massive inflow of foreign direct investment as well as the opening of a great deal of hotels after the election.”