ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore looking to attract more Myanmar tourists to the city-state
Singapore hopes to double the number of Myanmar tourists to the city-state from the 105,000 arrivals it saw in 2015. Some of Singapore’s landmarks were shown off in Yangon to entice Myanmar citizens to visit.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched a two-day Singapore Festival - the first of its kind in Myanmar - featuring the various attractions the Lion City offers.
“We’re expecting a lot more Myanmar visitors to Singapore, not just the 7.8 per cent growth we've been seeing in the first seven months of 2016,” said Mr Edward Koh, STB’s executive director for Southeast Asia.
“If Myanmar were to grow by at least double digits, in the coming few years, we'll be seeing at least a quarter million Myanmar visits to Singapore on a yearly basis,” he added.
The festival also highlights 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Myanmar. It is hoped that such an event will bring the citizens of both nations closer.
Citizens from both countries will no longer need visas to cross into each other’s borders, starting from December this year. The visa-free initiative will allow a maximum of 30 days’ stay in Singapore.
“With visa exemptions starting on the first of December this year, I’m very confident that we’ll see an increase in two-way tourism and business people visiting each other,” said Singapore’s ambassador to Myanmar Mr Robert Chua.
“Bilateral relations are also anchored by strong people-to-people relations, with about 200,000 Myanmar people living in Singapore and several hundred Singaporeans living here. So, I’m very confident that relations will continue to grow,” he added.
Singapore also roped in Myanmar celebrities to share experiences of their visits to the garden city. They hope their star power, together with the visual displays, will generate greater interest in Singapore.
Dr Su Su Htun, a Myanmar citizen, said: “I want to visit Singapore because I haven’t been there since seven years ago. So, I want to see the changes during these seven years. Singapore has many, many places to visit like the Universal Studios.”
“I still haven’t been to Singapore yet, but yes, if I get a chance to go, I will because there are so many attractions like the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer and Merlion, so I want to visit a lot of places,” said another Myanmar citizen, Yin Min Aye.
With a population of approximately 52 million citizens in Myanmar, this potential tourist market to Singapore remains relatively untapped - a reason why Singapore is hoping to attract the growing middle class segment to see the iconic model features in Singapore.
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