Myanmar to reopen to international tourists

By AFP   March 18, 2022 | 11:43 pm PT
Myanmar to reopen to international tourists
Myanmar, home to the temples of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is to reopen to foreign tourists from April 17. Photo by AFP/Mladen Antonov
Myanmar will resume international passenger flights from April 17, the military said Saturday, lifting a two-year ban on foreign tourists.

The Southeast Asian nation closed its borders to visitors in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to prevent rising infections.

Myanmar was further isolated after a coup last year saw huge protests and a bloody military crackdown on dissent, sending its economy -- including its tourism industry -- into freefall.

"We will open all international flights on 17 April, and can fly as regularly," said the National Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease, citing falling Covid-19 infections.

In a statement it said the decision was "in order to improve the tourism business sector, and in order to have smooth trip for visitors who come to visit Myanmar."

Visitors will be required to quarantine for a week -- undergoing two PCR tests -- and must be fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

Myanmar's tourism industry was battered by the pandemic, with the country registering 40,000 daily Covid-19 cases at its peak last year. It has recorded almost 20,000 deaths in total.

Spiraling violence following the junta takeover has also dented business, with many international firms pulling out of the nation.

More than 1,600 people have been killed by security forces and over 11,000 arrested since the coup, according to a local monitoring group.

The junta indicated late last year it was moving to reopen to international visitors in 2022, hoping to take advantage of the slew of local traditional holidays.

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