Myanmar’s junta to permit tourists to apply for visas

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Published on : Saturday, May 14, 2022

Myanmar shut down its borders to visitors in March 2020 just after the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic to prevent surging infection caseloads.

Myanmar’s junta will permit tourists to apply for visas after a hiatus of more than two years. Myanmar became inaccessible further after the army toppled the civilian government of Aung San SuuKyi in February 2021, giving rise to huge protests.

In order to develop the tourism sector, e-Visa (Tourist) applications will be permissible and accepted from 15 May 2022. However, details regarding when the first visitors could be expected were not available.

Activist groups have cautioned that the military’s vested interests in various expanses of the economy — including mines, banks, petroleum, agriculture and tourism mean that tourist dollars are expected to end up in the junta’s reserves.

Activist group Justice for Myanmar said thateven if foreign visitors evade hotels and transport in possession of the Myanmar military and their associates, they will still fund the junta by means of visa fees, insurance and tax. Hence, they need to shun aholiday in Myanmar.

After the establishment of democracy in 2011 after decades of military rule, Myanmar started welcoming tourists, gradually turning popular with travelers looking for an exotic destination away from the popular backpacker retreats of Southeast Asia.

However, Myanmar’s tourism sector was injuredbadly by the pandemic, with the country recordingdaily cases of 40,000 at its peak in 2021. The countrywitnessed almost 20,000 deaths overall.

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