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Myanmar braces for more tourists in open season

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YANGON, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is expecting more tourists in this year's tourism season starting October and steps are being taken by the tourism authorities to provide better services.

Good hotel services, smooth transport and communication, maintenance of tourist destinations and good guides as well as fixed and reasonable prices of taxi are among steps taken for the convenience of tourists to improve tourism industry, a main source of national income.

According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, since Myanmar launched the "Visit Myanmar Year" in 1996, there had been increase of tourist arrivals year-on-year from 416,344 in 2000 to 660,206 in 2005 and to 791,505 in 2010.

It has secured 469,457 tourist arrivals in the first seven months of 2011.

Most of the tourists arrived through Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports as well as through Muse and Tachileik border points by road respectively.

Visitors from China ranked first, followed by Germany, Spain, Norway, Thailand, Cambodia and India.

Services will be provided in line with international standards and cooperation is under way with international and domestic airlines, hotels, tour operators and some travel agencies to promote international tourism markets.

Meanwhile, the country is planning to introduce entertainment programs in Myanmar traditional style in some main tourist sites such as those in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inlay.

Myanmar's peak tourism season runs from October to April, the hottest monthes in a year.

Visit Myanmar Year-1996 had brought about foreign investment in the tourism sector from Singapore, Thailand, Japan, China's Hong Kong, Malaysia and Britain.

So far, Singapore has topped foreign investment in Myanmar's hotel sector, followed by Thailand and Japan.

According to the ministry, there are over 700 hotels and inns and about 700 tourism companies are operating with over 4,000 multi-language speaking tourist guides throughout the country.

Aimed at promoting tourism industry in the region, Myanmar is also making preparations to hold the first-ever Maha Mekong travel fair in the Bagan cultural site in Mandalay in November this year

Myanmar will display with booths featuring some sectors in the fair with a total of 11 associations under the Myanmar Tourism Board (MTB) showing distinctive places, international standard hotels, restaurants and region-wise souvenir shops in the country.

Countries from Maha Mekong region -- China, Lao, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia will also display their tourism sites during the show.

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