The government of Myanmar has decided to include 5 more countries in its visa on arrival (VoA) policy. The nation formerly known as Burma hopes to attract more foreign travelers in a bid to strengthen its tourism industry.
As of January 1, 2020, visitors from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, and New Zealand are now able to enter the South-East Asian state with the VoA.
Daw Sabei Aung, a spokesperson for Nature Dream Tourism Company said: “When our country is facing mounting international pressures, the extension of visa on arrivals is a good response. It will be better if the country issues visa on arrival for other countries. It is a good move for the year 2020.”
To date, Myanmar has granted visas on arrival to over 398,000 tourists and collected around US$19,271,330, according to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population. Some are calling for the extension of the VoA to even more countries to help improve Myanmar’s international relations and tourism sector.
The Visa On Arrival for Myanmar
The visa on arrival scheme has proved successful with the first group of countries it has been offered to. An increase in the number of tourists from these states has persuaded the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of the benefits of allowing more nationalities to enter the country with a VoA.
China, India, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Russia already enjoy access to the VoA for Myanmar, which has resulted in a rise in visitor numbers from these countries as a result.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Myanmar has increased by 150% since China was added to the list of VoA countries. According to Daw Sabei Aung from Nature Dream Tourism Company, the number of Russian tourists has also risen by 5% despite the fact that the Russian economy is declining.
In the past, Myanmar has granted the VoA to travelers of certain nationalities for a “test period” of one year. Following this period, some countries and territories have been granted total visa exemption due to the increase of visitors. Citizens of Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong are among those who may now visit Myanmar visa-free.
However, according to the Director of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, U Than Win, Myanmar is trying to build a “tourism market” and the success of the visa on arrival in attracting more tourists from countries like Russia has led to changes in policy.
The “test period” has now been extended to 3 years and citizens of more countries have been granted the chance to visit Myanmar with a VoA.
Who Needs a Visa to Go to Myanmar?
Myanmar’s visa policy varies depending on the traveler’s nationality. Citizens of some countries are permitted to enter Myanmar without a visa for certain lengths of time, while the majority must obtain some form of visa.
With the addition of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, and New Zealand, a total of 13 nationalities are eligible to obtain a visa on arrival at Yangon International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, or Mandalay International Airport. The VoA is valid for up to 30 days.
Visitors from many different nations have the option of applying for a Myanmar eVisa (electronic visa) before traveling to the country. The eVisa covers visits up to 28 days for tourism purposes or 70 days for business purposes (with an invitation).
Nationals of the remaining countries must visit a Myanmar embassy or consulate and apply for a traditional visa for Myanmar.