Myanmar is rolling out a visa-on-arrival program for Indian tourists, as confirmed by the country’s immigration ministry. The one-year trial scheme’s commencement date will be announced shortly, according to reports. Currently, Indian tourists must apply for a visa online or through a Myanmar embassy.
Holders of these visas will have the privilege of exploring all non-restricted areas, except those deemed security concerns, as stated in the report.
The United States and Australia have issued advisories to their citizens, urging them to avoid travel to Myanmar due to the ongoing conflict. The Myanmar junta, facing resistance to its 2021 coup, is keen to attract foreign tourists for their economic contributions, especially since it does not have full control over various parts of the country.
Both China and India, sharing extensive borders with Myanmar, have maintained diplomatic ties with the isolated regime following the coup. Myanmar’s tourism ministry is also actively courting travellers from Russia, a major ally and arms supplier.
In recent developments, the national carrier commenced direct flights to Russia’s Novosibirsk earlier this month. Additionally, the junta is working on enabling the use of Russia’s Mir cards for direct payments.
Myanmar, known for its natural beauty and rich culture, opened its doors to tourists in 2011 after decades of military rule. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the military coup, followed by a violent crackdown on dissent, severely impacted tourism.
These challenging times have led to a struggling economy, with the local currency, the kyat, depreciating against the dollar. Rolling power outages have disrupted daily life in major cities, compounding the woes of residents who face difficulties accessing ATMs and foreign exchange counters.