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The decrease of inbound tourists not related to recent domestic Mrauk-U conflicts but to northern Rakhine State Bengali issue
Tour agencies have said the decrease of inbound tourists to Mrauk-U, the evocative ancient ruins of the royal city, was not because of the conflicts which broken out between civilians and police officers starting in Mrauk-U in mid-January, but is more related to transportation issues and the Bengali issue in northern Rakhine state.
27 Jan 2018
MRAUK-U : Tour agencies have said the decrease of inbound tourists to Mrauk-U, the evocative ancient ruins of the royal city, was not because of the conflicts which broken out between civilians and police officers starting in Mrauk-U in mid-January, but is more related to transportation issues and the Bengali issue in northern Rakhine state.
The decline of inbound tourists to Mrauk-U dates back to 2012, and the outbreak of violence and terrorism in 2017 once again adds to the considerable decrease in the number of tourists coming in.
Ko Nyi Nyi Tun, the manager of Vesali Hotel in Mrauk-U, reported that no direct access by air to the site of ancient Mrauk-U, was one of the main reasons for the decrease.
“The number of tourists has really decreased. One of the main difficulties is that we don’t have an airport here. I think they have a hard time with the long transit from Sitetway to Mrauk-U and back, because that takes much of a day each way. That’s all I can say. The area of the Bengali related conflicts is far from us. But they might be concerned, because they don’t necessarily know where it is completely safe, and where it is not.”
The Mrauk-U conflict which occurred on the 16th January is known to have no relation with the decrease of inbound tourists, as it had suffered already due to the Bengali issue. According to the lists of tour-guides, there was known to be only 6000 tourists, even at the high time of millions visited Myanmar.
“There are two points I always mention. One of the main reasons why tourists do not visit Mrauk-U is, from my point of view, the weakness of our hotel and tourism ministry in promoting the necessary information on Mrauk-U. Uneasy transportation means also poses a great difficulty to us to visit with our clients. What people from European countries think is that there could be, some occasional terrorist acts, such as a bomb, or ambush, like in some other affected countries. These are the short-comings about tourism in Mrauk-U. This is just what I view. The number is even less this year. It has not reached to 3000 tourists yet”, said Ko Tun Ni, a tour guide, talking about the needs to have regular inbound tourists.
The report of the Advisory Commission led by Mr. Kofi Annan described that if Mrauk-U was enlisted with UNESCO, as one of the worlds’ cultural heritage sites, for which efforts and forerunning arrangements were being made by 14 committees, the number of international and domestic tourists would increase, and that would be a great supporting pillar for strengthening the economy of Rakhine State as well.