Visa-free travel to bring 35% rise in Singapore visitors, forecasts minister

The Minister of Hotels and Tourism, U Ohn Maung, has predicted a sharp rise in the number of visitors from Singapore following an easing of visa restrictions, reports said.

A decision by the two countries to introduce visa-free travel for their citizens for up to 30 days from December 1 was announced during a visit to Myanmar by Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsieng Loong in June.

“I do expect a 35 percent increase of Singaporeans travelling to Myanmar if we successfully promote the variety of tourist attractions the country has to offer,” Ohn Maung said.

“Myanmar is safe, excellent to travel the whole year round, and Myanmar food is certainly something to come back for over and over again,” the minister said.

His comments came as Myanmar Tourism Marketing began a promotional roadshow in Singapore that was timed to coincide with the visit there by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

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The roadshow by MTM, a mainly privately-fund branch of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, includes a business matching event that will bring together about 50 Myanmar and Singapore tourism and hospitality companies.

The roadshow comes ahead of the first Myanmar Tourism Festival to be held in Singapore next month.

“We have witnessed a surge of Singaporean travellers and look forward to this growing,” said MTM chair Daw May Myat Mon Win.

“We’re on a mission to show the world what this hidden gem called Myanmar has to offer; and in doing so, we’d like to dispel some myths about the country. It’s not true that you can only visit Myanmar during the dry season. In fact, Myanmar’s best kept secret is the green season from June till September,” she said.

Figures cited by MTM show that 43,000 Singaporeans travelled to Myanmar in 2015. More than 32,000 Singaporeans visited this year to the end of August, an increase of 18 percent over the same period in 2015.

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