The number is a 30% rise from last year and Thai tourists will spend around 1.1 billion baht while travelling around the neighbouring country. The Thai group will represent 18% of this year’s forecasted 500,000 foreign tourists, who will bring earnings of around $400,000,000 (12 billion baht).
According to the centre, the top five visitors to Myanmar will come from China, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. Last year, Myanmar welcomed 391,176 tourists, a 25% increase from 311,000 visitors in 2010 .
The rapid increase of tourists has lead to a shortage of accommodation. It is estimated that there are only 25,000 hotel and guesthouse rooms available across the country, but those mainly serve tourists in major cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan. The number of rooms will not be enough to serve the growth of foreign tourists, especially when there will be more direct flights from various countries to Myanmar.
“Thailand - a relatively large tourism market in ASEAN - should seek the opportunity to invest in this promising tourism market,” noted the research centre.
Myanmar allows 100% foreign ownership in four- to five-star hotels. Today major foreign investors in the hotel business come from Singapore, followed by Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong.
In addition to the numbers of Thai tourists to Myanmar, Kasikorn Research Centre also expects to see 135,000 Myanmar tourists visiting Thailand this year, up 22% from last year.
Written by : Reinhard Hohler