Myanmar and China are taking big steps to develop each other’s tourism industries.
China Eastern Airlines yesterday launched Hohhot – Kunming – Yangon flights and will deploy a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a seat capacity of 184 for the new service.This will operate from Yangon International Airport three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting April 2.
China is raising efforts to draw Myanmar visitors to the Mainland. Last week, Myanmar tourists were invited to visit Zhangjiajie, China by Ding Yun Lai, governor of Wulingyuan district during his visit to Yangon.
Zhangjiajie is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of China’s Hunan province, is home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It is an UNESCO cultural heritage site and where the film Aviator starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Cate Blanchett was shot.
About eight million tourists from 30 countries visit Zhangjiajie every year.
“We take the Myanmar tourism market seriously as Myanmar is a promising country. So, for the convenience of travelers, we will try at the earliest to connect both cities with a direct flight,” Mr Ding said.
China is raising efforts to woo Myanmar travelers after the country relaxed visa requirements for incoming Japanese, Koreans and Chinese tourists in September last year.
After visa exemptions were granted in late 2018, China has increased the number of flights to Myanmar and tourism between the two countries has expanded.
As tourists from both Myanmar and China usually travel in groups , more cooperation is needed to develop a systematic and organised industry catering to the needs of the tourists, said U Kyaw Win, a member of the Myanmar-China Tourism Marketing Team.
“Now that the tourist industries of both countries are taking off, there should be an agreement between both sides to make traveling more convenient. It is good for the long run,” he said.
Myanmar travelers typically visit Shweli, Kunming, Shanghai and Chengdu. Now, Myanmar nationals will be able to visit Zhangjiajie with an arrival visa, said a responsible person of Hunan Oversea Travel Zhangjiajie Company.
Yesterday, the Central Bank of Myanmar also allowed a three-month pilot project to test digital payments using the WeChat application in 14 shops at Mandalay Airport and specified shops in Mandalay city.
This came after local firm Paypb in partnership with Hong Kong-based QFPay applied to the Central Bank to allow payments using the WeChat application. The aim is to make payments more convenient for Chinese travelers to Myanmar.
WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011, and by 2018 was one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps by monthly active users, with over 1 billion monthly active users and 902 million daily active users, according to reports.
Myanmar played host to more than 3.5 million tourists in 2018, of which 40percent were Chinese, according to the Myanmar-China Marketing Committee.
Source: Myanmar Times