More Japanese visit Myanmar but only on business

More Japanese visit Myanmar but only on business

Myanmar hopes to promote other cities including Mandalay (above) for Japanese travellers. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

Myanmar needs to actively promote its culture, historical heritage, leisure and other features to attract more Japanese tourists as most of the visitors from Japan are business travellers, a tourism official said.

Kyaw Min Htin, executive committee member of the Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee under the Myanmar Tourism Federation, said although the number of Japanese visitors increased 11% last year, most of them in Myanmar on business.

“In my more than 20 years’ experience of the Japanese market, I realise that we need to promote Myanmar more among Japanese holidaymakers,” he told the Myanmar Times.

In 2016, Myanmar received about 100,000 Japanese visitors, but most of them were in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw on business. In comparison, three million Japanese tourists visited Thailand last year, he said.

“A few Japanese come for leisure and recreation while the rest are business travellers, according to research. They do not have an idea of what Bagan, Mandalay and Inle are, or where the most popular tourist attraction sites in Myanmar are.

That is why we need to promote our country more,” said Kyaw Min Htin.

Areas such as Chin state, Khakaborazi Mountain, Puta-o, beaches and Myeik archipelagos should also be developed for sustainable tourism and promoted, to attract Japanese leisure tourists as well as small and medium entrepreneurs, he added.

“Leisure market holds potential for business travellers because business ideas can be developed when they go around tour sites in Myanmar. So we need to do more marketing and promoting,” said Kyaw Min Htin.

According to Takahiko Ohata, chairman of overseas tour operators association of Japan, the problem is lack of focus in the Myanmar tourism market if it intends to attract Japanese leisure visitors.

“Japanese travellers do not know much about Myanmar. The government and the private sector have to cooperate on how best to promote and market Myanmar to the Japanese,” said Ohata.

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