Bilateral panel discusses plan to jointly promote Bagan, Angkor

Myanmar and Cambodia are exploring ways of jointly promoting the ancient cities of Bagan and Angkor as tourism destinations, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

It said a bilateral working group held its first meeting in Bagan in June to discuss the joint promotion of the destinations, as well as airline and visa arrangements.

A second meeting of the public-private sector group was planned for later this year and a bilateral agreement was expected to be signed in 2018, the NAR said in the August 5 report.

Government agencies would help to promote private sector tours by streamlining visa procedures, it said.

There had also been discussion about establishing direct flights between the two destinations.

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“There will be so many things to clear for the direct flight to materialise,” U Hla Myint, the director of tourism promotion at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism told the NAR.

The report said that as an interim option the working group has held talks with Dubai-based carrier Emirates, which in July launched daily flights that connect Yangon and Phnom Penh.

Angkor, in northwestern Cambodia, is attracting about three million tourists a year and Bagan about 300,000, NAR said.

“If they are sold as a package, Bagan will get more tourists,” said Hla Myint, referring to the plan to jointly promote the two destinations.

The report said tourism was a vital source of income for emerging economies such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, which compete against more established destinations such as Thailand.

In Cambodia, tourism generated 20 percent of national income, NAR said.

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