Myanmar to offer visa on arrival to Chinese, Indian tourists

Holders of the visas will be "allowed to visit all sites apart from restricted areas for security concerns".

Published - September 16, 2023 03:13 am IST - Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar will offer visas on arrival to Chinese and Indian tourists, state media reported, as the ruling junta seeks to lure back foreign visitors and their cash.

A start date for the one-year trial scheme "will be announced soon", the Global New Light of Myanmar reported, citing the junta's immigration ministry.

Holders of the visas will be "allowed to visit all sites apart from restricted areas for security concerns", said the report in Thursday's newspaper.

Currently citizens of both countries must apply for a tourist visa online, or at a Myanmar embassy.

The military is struggling to crush opposition to its 2021 coup and has admitted there are swathes of the country it does not fully control.

Countries such as the United States and Australia advise against all travel to Myanmar, due to the ongoing conflict.

China and India, which both share long and porous borders with Myanmar, have maintained ties with the isolated generals since the coup.

The junta's tourism ministry is also working to attract travellers from Russia, another major ally and arms supplier.

Earlier this month the national carrier began direct flights to Russia's Novosibirsk, and the junta has said it is working to allow the use of Russia's Mir cards for direct payments.

Myanmar opened up to tourists in 2011 following decades of military rule, becoming popular with travellers.

It closed its borders during the coronavirus pandemic and the military's coup and subsequent bloody crackdown on dissent have kept visitors away.

The economy has slumped, with the local kyat currency plunging against the dollar and rolling power outages roiling major cities, where access to ATMs and foreign exchange counters is patchy.

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