Myanmar has unveiled the “Welcome, Russians!” program, aimed at attracting Russian tourists to the country, announced Thet Thet Khine, the Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism of the Republic of Myanmar, during her address at the Eastern Economic Forum 2023 in Vladivostok.
Speaking at the forum, Thet Thet Khine highlighted that on September 5, 2023, Myanmar Airways International inaugurated direct flights between Novosibirsk and Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, with a stopover in Mandalay.
“This is a significant milestone in our relations, allowing us to welcome Russian tourists. With the establishment of direct flights, we have come closer to each other. We have improved transport accessibility for tourists, which is crucial for the long-term development of tourism in both countries,” emphasized the minister.
Thet Thet Khine noted that Myanmar can serve as a gateway to Southeast Asia for both tourism and business purposes, offering unique experiences and opportunities.
“We are delighted to welcome Russian tourists, as our logistics have improved, and we want to showcase our beautiful country to them. Our ministry, in collaboration with the Tourism Association, is taking steps to implement a program we call ‘Welcome, Russians.’ Under this program, we plan to organize familiarization trips for 30 representatives, proposed by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, and 5-10 licensed tour operators. Additionally, we will invite representatives of Russian media to introduce Myanmar to Russian travelers and highlight the country’s opportunities in late September or early October. We expect that after this trip, more Russian tourists will visit us, and business connections between our countries will strengthen,” added Thet Thet Khine.
She emphasized that simplifying the visa regime is essential to increase Russian tourist arrivals, and Myanmar already has a program in place to facilitate this process. Furthermore, the country is implementing protocols for ensuring the health and safety of tourists. Myanmar’s Ministry of Tourism has also organized Russian language courses for tour operators to enhance their ability to serve Russian tourists effectively.
“Myanmar offers a wealth of opportunities for tourists seeking unique experiences. The country appeals to visitors from all over the world, catering to various interests, whether it’s exploring the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in the north, exploring UNESCO-listed cultural heritage sites in our ancient cities, or enjoying the pristine beaches on the archipelago of 180 islands in the Andaman Sea to the south. Myanmar is developing cultural, ethnic, and maritime tourism, among others. Before the pandemic in 2019, we welcomed 4.6 million tourists. In 2022, their number reached 233,000. Our key markets include Thailand, Japan, and Korea. We have around 230 hotels with approximately 97,000 rooms. Approximately 80 foreign investors are contributing to the construction of hotels and commercial complexes, with a total investment volume of around $5.5 billion,” she highlighted.
Russia and Myanmar have reinstated air travel between the two nations following a 30-year hiatus.
Thet Thet Khine also announced that an official memorandum of understanding and tourism development agreement between Russia and Myanmar is scheduled to be signed on September 12 at the Eastern Economic Forum.
“We intend to actively utilize it to promote investments and tourism. It is also an interesting opportunity for Russian entrepreneurs, whom we invite to invest in our country,” emphasized Thet Thet Khine.
Myanmar’s “Welcome, Russians!” program, coupled with improved transport links and visa facilitation, is set to open up a world of opportunities for Russian tourists to explore the diverse and culturally rich landscapes of Myanmar, forging stronger ties between the two nations.