Myanmar’s hotel and tourism ministry has asked the tourism sector to suggest more countries which should be added to the current list of 43 states whose citizens can apply for a new E-visa via an online system that was launched in September 2014. The E-visa debuts as foreign tourism arrivals to Myanmar reach record numbers, air access increases and new hotels in Yangon and other cities open.
Those 43 countries whose citizens are already eligible for the E-visa are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Czech, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Turkey, Eqypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
Passport holders of Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia are given 14 days visa exemption by Myanmar.
It’s understood that since the launch of the E-visa on September 1, mostly Americans have been entering Myanmar with these.
A travel executive was quoted in local Myanmar media as saying there were many countries holding good government relations with Myanmar which should be permitted to use the E-visa system. Countries with no Myanmar embassy should also be allowed.
The E-visa can be applied for at www.evisa.moip.gov.mm with the application process requiring a person’s passport to be valid for at least six months, one colour photo taken during the past three months and the fee (non refundable) of US$50 paid either with Visa or MasterCard.
The E-visa is valid for a length of stay of 28 days from the date of arrival in Myanmar, with the validity of approval up to 90 days from its issuing date. It can be used for a single entry (re-entry requires another E-visa) and currently only through Yangon International Airport, with authorities saying other ports of entry would be announced later.
The application website states the applicant will receive an email acknowledgement within one hour of successful payment of the US$50 fee and that the processing time of an application is up to five working days.
Upon approval, the applicant will receive an email with an E-visa Approval Letter which needs to be printed out and presented to immigration at the airport upon arrival in Yangon.
Myanmar welcomed in excess of 2 million foreign visitors for the first time in 2013, and is now aiming for 3 million international arrivals in 2014 and 5 million in 2015.
Of the 2.04 million foreign visitors seen in 2013, 885,476 arrived by air, 6,086 by water and over 1.15 million by land through border checkpoints. Foreign tourist arrivals through Yangon – the main gateway for Western tourists – jumped 44.81 per cent year-on-year to 803,014, according to official statistics.
While a large number of Thais visit their neighbour to the west, Thailand is also the gateway to Myanmar for many travelers on longhaul flights from Europe and the United Kingdom which operate in to Bangkok. From Bangkok there’s a growing choice of flights to key destinations in Myanmar such as Yangon, Mandalay, Nyaung U (Bagan) and the new capital Nay Pyi Taw.
This presents great opportunity for tourists to combine two of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations – Thailand and Myanmar. And to the north, east and south of Thailand are more travel opportunities in the form of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. From Bangkok, flying time to the capital cities of these neighbouring destinations is between one to two hours.
The unique kaleidoscope of travel experiences these countries offer is that of picturesque landscapes, exotic cultures, fascinating traditions, tantalizing cuisines and accommodation to fit all tastes and budgets. This includes some of the finest boutique and luxury hotels in Asia.
In Myanmar the choice of accommodation is growing, with the hotel sector seeing a boost in foreign investment. This includes new properties opening in the administrative centre Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. Along with three, four and five star addresses, the choice of hotels in Yangon includes delightfully restored colonial-era properties which offer guests an enchanting blend of historical significance and luxurious comfort, and which are representative of some of the wonderful unique hotels in Asia.
Thailand’s ever-popular island resorts of Samui and Phuket are home to a multitude of stylish boutique hotels nestled on the shores of stunning tropical beaches. An hour’s drive from the capital Bangkok are many a boutique hotel in Pattaya too, the longtime seaside resort city.
In 2012 hotel management company GCP Hospitality launched what’s called Unplugged Edition. Located at www.unpluggededition.com it is a promotional and booking platform for lifestyle and design hotels in Southeast Asia, the wider Asian region and select worldwide destinations.
The Unplugged Edition portfolio currently includes hotels in Myanmar, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and San Francisco. They are The Strand Yangon, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, Pullman Pattaya Hotel G, Beach Republic Koh Samui, Residence G Hong Hong (By Hotel G), The Opposite House, Beijing, and Hotel G San Francisco.