Visa-free program could see more Singaporeans vacationing in Myanmar

A 35 percent increase is expected in Singaporeans traveling to Myanmar. Pic: Jimmy Tran/Shutterstock

ON December 1, a visa exemption was put into place between Singapore and Myanmar which could result in a sharp surge of Singaporeans visiting its northern allies.

Myanmar’s Minister of Hotels and Tourism, U Ohn Maung, said, “I expect a 35 percent increase in Singaporeans traveling to Myanmar, if we successfully promote the variety of tourist attractions the country has to offer.”

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

Based on the new visa scheme, Singaporeans can be in Myanmar for up to 30 days without a visa, and the same privileges are put in place for citizens of Myanmar visiting Singapore.

The decision to introduce the scheme took place in June during a visit to Myanmar by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong.

To promote Myanmar’s many tourist offerings, the Myanmar Tourism Marketing (MTM) was held in Singapore last week. The event also aimed to drive demand during Myanmar’s low tourist seasons of June to September.

MTM chairperson May Myat Mon Win was quoted, “We’d like to dispel some myths about the country. It’s not true that you can only visit Myanmar during the dry season.”

Meanwhile, Edwin Briels, managing director of Khiri Travel Myanmar and executive committee member of MTM, told TTG Asia, “Singaporeans still have an image of Myanmar as maybe a little too cultural and boring, but it has something for everybody. It’s not only about temples, but also about food, fun, trekking, golfing and going around the whole country.”

Based on figures released at MTM, some 43,000 Singaporeans traveled to Myanmar in 2015, while more than 32,000 have already visited this year up to August, an increase of 18 percent over the same period compared with 2015.

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