Myanmar tourism master plan takes off

With more than five million visitors expected this year, Myanmar's tourism master plan is under way with support from the Asia Development Bank and the Norwegian government, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

The master plan, which covers 2013 to 2020 and includes 38 long- and short-term projects, is projected to cost about US$486.6 million, said Htay Aung, Union Minister of Hotels and Tourism.

The ministry has currently received $215.6 million for 21 projects, according to Hlaing Oo, director of the ministry.

The master plan comprises six strategies:

- To promote Myanmar as a new, popular travel destination

- To develop infrastructure

- To develop tour destinations

- To map management tactics and design projects

- To enhance human resources

- To enforce organisational structure

The tourist flow into Myanmar is likely to increase at a rate of 1.5 million visitors per year and is expected to hit eight million in 2020. The income from international visitors should reach $10 billion in 2020, according to the tourism master plan.

The service industries of popular tour destinations such as Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle, Kyaikhteeyoe and Ngapali will be improved over the next seven years.

The infrastructure in Chaungtha and Ngwesaung beaches will also be developed, and the roads connected to Putao, Myeik Archipelago, Naga Land, Natmauk Mountain and Loikaw will be upgraded to ease transportation.

The country's tourism industry has developed rapidly among Asean visitors over the last four years, with Myanmar welcoming more than 1.5 million visitors from those countries and earning between $1 billion to $2 billion in revenue.