The relaxation will be effective to ordinary passport holders from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg and New Zealand, who will enter Myanmar through Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports, for a three-year probation period until Dec 31, 2022.
Also, the agreement to grant up to 30 days of visa-exempted stay for Vietnamese tourists in Myanmar starting from Jan. 1, 2020 was reached during the official visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar earlier this month.
From January to October this year, Myanmar received over 3.5 million tourists, showing an increase from over 2.8 million in the same period of last year, the ministry's figures showed.
“In the past, the test period of visa relations was only one year but now it has been extended to three years,” said U Than Win, director of the ministry.
The easing of visa regulations is aimed at reviving the tourism industry, which has been affected by international outrage over the humanitarian crisis in northern Rakhine State.
U Khin Aung Tun, vice chair of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, expressed hope the easing of the rules would attract more tourists.
“Although Myanmar does not get many visitors from these countries currently, the easing of visa rules for three years could create a tourism market,” he said.
Only about 2000 tourists came from New Zealand and Austria from as of October this year, and the number from New Zealand actually declined by 9% compared to the same period of last year, according to the ministry.
In October, Myanmar extended its visa-on-arrival programme to Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Australia.
Myanmar also has waived visa requirements for visitors from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macao and granted visas-on-arrival to Chinese travellers who arrive by air. The courtesy programme has been extended for another year.
Myanmar now grants visas-on-arrival to over 50 countries at its international airports in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, and allows foreign visitors a 28-day stay.
Tour operators said visitors from Western countries stay an average of 14 days. – Xinhua/Asian News Network