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Myanmar introduces e-visa to boost tourist arrivals

Source:   Time:

YANGON, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's immigration authorities on Monday formally introduced online electronic e-visa for all foreign tourists in a bid to boost tourist arrivals in the country.

The formal launch of e-visa came after a trial period in August for a limited number of applications.

The system will ensure all tourists destined to Myanmar to get e-visa within five days.

According to the hotels and tourist authorities, the number of tourist arrivals in Myanmar reached 1.6 million in the first seven months of this year, up 43 percent from the same period of last year.

Since taking office by the civilian government in 2011, tourist arrivals in Myanmar remarkably grew from 1.06 million in 2012 to 2. 04 million in 2013 and it targets 3 million tourists in 2015 and over 7 million by 2020 under the 2013-2020 Myanmar main tourist project.

Of the foreign visitors, those from Asia accounted for 70 percent with others from Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East also growing.

Myanmar's tourist development is also highlighted by the visit of foreign tourists to Myanmar's world-known Shwedagon Pagoda and the number of visitors to the pagoda reached 245,586 in the first half of 2014, up 30,000 from the same period of last year.

Foreign exchange earnings through tourist increased from 534 million U.S. dollars in 2012 to 926 million U.S. dollars in 2013 and it is projected to reach over one billion U.S. dollars in 2014.

The World Travel and Tourism Council said Myanmar's hotels and tourist sector currently contributes 3.7 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) , estimating that the percentage could reach 9.5 by the end of 2014.

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