The 27th SEA Games 2013, which officially starts in Myanmar today (December 11, 2013), is helping bring the once-reclusive nation back into the international spotlight for the first time since it opened up the country recently amid interest and anticipation toward its economic development. Myanmar's open-door policies have not only attracted many international tourists this year, but also drawn more foreign investors there than ever before.
In addition, the ASEAN regional sporting event, SEA Games, which is taking place during the high travel season, will likely bolster tourism significantly this year. We at KResearch expect that the number of international tourist arrivals to Myanmar will reach perhaps 1.35 million in 2013, beating the 1.06 million reported for 2012, generating at least USD800 million in tourism income for the country.
Aside from direct benefits to tourism, hosting the 2013 SEA Games has bolstered growth in several economic sectors there, following accelerated development in infrastructure, travel accommodations, tourist attractions and services – in quantity and quality – to facilitate domestic and international tourists. Given this, it is expected that Myanmar will likely post a robust growth of at least 6.8 percent in 2013 and 7 percent in 2014. This, in turn, would help support Thai exports sent to Myanmar to reach a 25 percent growth in 2013, equivalent to around USD3.9 billion, and possibly a 20-28 percent growth during 2014.
After the 2013 SEA Games, Myanmar will take on an important role as the Chair of ASEAN next year on the theme, “Moving Forward in Unity toward a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”, amid the many challenges and expectations that it will have to face.
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