Due to their closed-door policy for many years, Myanmar is a natural resource-rich country with abundant forests, natural energy resources, mineral ores and gems, as well as unspoiled natural and Buddhism-related cultural attractions demonstrated in the grandeur of their ancient temples and pagodas. As Myanmar was once a British colony for about a century, many people there can speak English quite well, thus facilitating communication with foreign visitors.
Also, the Myanmar's government targets the tourism industry in driving their economy to achieve the 7-percent growth per year. Aside from human resource development to improve tourism service, efforts to improve transportation infrastructure, including a new international airport is underway. Foreigners are now welcomed to invest in hotel industry to increase the number of rooms. (There are only 25,000 rooms across the country currently). It is quite possible that tourism will grow rapidly, thanks to the upcoming AEC in 2015.
Thailand—a relatively large tourism market in ASEAN—should seek the opportunity to invest in this promising tourism market boosted by many factors there, e.g., liberalization in investment policies, plus a rising number of direct flights to Myanmar, which helped spur foreign tourist arrivals to Myanmar to around 30 percent growth during 1H12. KResearch expects that the number of foreign tourists visiting Myanmar should reach 500,000 people, generating tourism income of around USD400 million this year.
Given convenient links between Thailand and Myanmar, KResearch expects that there will be 135,000 Myanmarian tourists visiting Thailand in overall 2012, rising 22 percent YoY and generating tourism income of around THB4.2 billion for Thailand, growing by 25 percent YoY. Meanwhile, Thai tourists visiting Myanmar should total around 90,000, rising 30 percent YoY, spending around THB1.1 billion there, representing a similar growth rate to tourist arrivals.
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