While other countries are still struggling with the coronavirus, Myanmar has lifted all restrictions on domestic travel. All tourist destinations are allowed to reopen, and the population is encouraged to visit them. For the time being, foreign travellers are excluded, even if they have a visa, but the prospects for international tourism to Myanmar are positive.
No new Covid-19 cases in a month
Myanmar is eager to get its domestic economy back on track. Companies are opening up again and workers are allowed to work on location again. Although this is seen by some as premature, the Myanmar government is confident that now is the time to get the recovery process moving. The main reason for this is that the number of cases of coronavirus infection in Myanmar has been almost zero in recent months.
The government says this is because of the speed with which measures against the virus have been implemented. For example, travel bans on international flights were introduced, new visas could not be acquired for Myanmar, and popular festivals and mass gatherings were banned. The Burmese government's approach has also received compliments from the WHO.
Roadmap for the economy
Domestic tourism is slowly starting to pick up again in Myanmar, although people do not travel in groups as much as they used to. This sector in particular has suffered greatly from the coronavirus crisis. Income was negligible in the months of April and May, resulting in thousands of firings. The government's attention is therefore specifically focused on (domestic) tourism. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has set out a concrete step-by-step plan to help the sector get back on its feet, consisting of three phases.
1: Financial support for hotels and businesses
The first phase will mainly consist of providing financial support to ailing businesses in the tourism sector. They will benefit from tax reductions, temporarily not having to pay rent and will be able to apply for special loans at very low interest rates. This phase is now largely over, and the effects, according to the Ministry, have been very positive.
2: General opening
This phase takes place from June to August. All tourist attractions will be allowed to re-open, but they must adhere to strict hygiene rules to ensure that the coronavirus does not spread again.
3: Restarting the country
The final phase will begin in September. The country will slowly but surely re-open for international tourism. The visa system will start operating again and foreign travellers will potentially be allowed to enter the country. Massive marketing campaigns will be launched to make Myanmar as attractive as possible to both domestic and foreign tourists. The ultimate goal is that after this phase, which will last six months to a year, the country will have largely recovered economically.
Myanmar visa and travelling to Myanmar
At the moment, however, the country is still in the second phase, which means that the focus is on domestic tourism. Foreigners will have to wait awhile, but the prospects for international flights to Myanmar are still positive. By publishing the roadmap, the Myanmar government has sent a clear signal that it has not forgotten foreign tourists.
In addition to the coronavirus measures that travellers will undoubtedly face if they want to travel to Myanmar in the future, it should not be forgotten that Myanmar also has a visa requirement. This means that British and Irish travellers will have to apply for a Myanmar visa if they want to travel to Myanmar. The visa can be applied for online by means of a digital visa application form. No visit to the embassy is required. The visa will be sent by email after it has been granted, after which it can be printed out.