Myanmar records one million tourists, surge in tourism income
Myanmar's newly released tourism statistics for 2012 show dramatic increases in visitor numbers and revenue from inbound travel.
More than a million travelers flocked to Myanmar last year, compared with approximately 816,000 visitors in 2011.
The country's tourism income showed startling year on year growth, recording a 67 percent increase in earnings. The total tourism income for 2012 was US$534 million, compared with US$319 million in 2011.
Despite reports of infrastructure overwhelmed by the sudden surge in visitors, officials say they aren't worried, and remain optimistic about foreign investment in the industry.
"Since the new investment law was enacted last year, many foreign investors have been asking about the situation," Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director Khin Than Win told CNN, adding that the ministry is focusing on human resource development, transportation and hotels.
According to official statistics, there are currently 28,291 hotel rooms in Myanmar. The ministry is working on a five-star hotel development project with Vietnamese company Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
Thais beat out the Chinese for most visitors by nationality. Approximately 90,000 Thais, 70,000 Chinese and 37,000 U.S. tourists visited Myanmar last year.
Visitors are overwhelmingly male, with the male-to-female visitor ratio at 62 percent to 38 percent.
The ministry expects even greater numbers in 2013.
"We expect the growth of tourism to further continue and forecast to receive 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year," said Khin Than Win, citing the new on-arrival visas as an additional reason for the rapid rise.
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