Myanmar Monitor


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Photo Credit: Associated Press

Economy, Investment and Trade

Myanmar sees jump in tourist arrivals
28 April 2017 – Myanmar saw an increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the first two months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. The number of tourist arrivals by end of February 2017 had increased by 22 percent with over 600,000 visitors entering the country according to the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. In 2016, there were only 2.9 million tourist arrivals a fall of 38 percent compared to 2015, however this was partially due to a change in categorisation for data collection which now excluded day trippers with border passes.
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Myanmar to introduce a tourism tax
1 May 2017 – The Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) has decided, after a meeting of its tourism development committee, to impose a tourism tax on visitors to the country. The tax payable will be US$1 per night spent at a hotel or guesthouse. The tax is only to be imposed on short term visitors. The reason given for introducing this tax was the need for funds to promote tourism for Myanmar without having to rely on government funds. In 2016, MTF’s tourism market committee applied for US$30 million from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to fund tourism promotion activities but the application was rejected in favour of more important sectors which required the funds.
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Foreign and Internal Affairs

Aung San Suu Kyi publicly opposes EU backed review into Rohingya issue
3 May 2017 – Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has publicly clashed with her supporters on the Rohingya issue in the Rakhine state. She argued that EU-backed review of the Rohingya crisis was not “in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground” and that the probe will only cause more divisions within the communities in the troubled state. After saying that the country disassociates itself from the resolution for a probe she said they would instead follow the recommendations of a special commission on Rakhine which was set up under the leadership of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
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UNHCR criticises Myanmar’s Rohingya resettlement plan;
27 April 2017 – The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has criticised Myanmar government’s plans to resettle over 1,000 Rohingya households from 13 different settlements into larger more manageable “model villages”. The Rohingya are afraid that this will take them away from their sources of livelihood and confine them to a situation akin to a refugee camp. However, a Rakhine State government secretary said that the relocation was in the interests of the Rohingya community as they would be close to government provided amenities such as hospitals and police stations.
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Suu Kyi and Jokowi meet on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit
2 May 2017 – Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi met for a short 30 minutes meeting with Indonesian counterpart President Joko Widodo. The main topic of discussion was the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. President Jokowi secured a commitment from Myanmar that they were committed to resolving the refugee crisis, managed to gain access to the conflict area in order for Indonesia to build a hospital, and ensured that Indonesian humanitarian aid can continue passing through to the area.
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