Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Myanmar to resume issuing visas on arrival to visitors

The Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population agreed to resume issuing visas on arrival (VOA) to foreign visitors after negotiating with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, a senior tourism official said.

“We got initial agreement with the ministry of labor, immigration and population but the immigration department will still decide on the number of countries where the visa on arrival could be extended,” U Tint Thwin, director general of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said on August 10.

According to the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, it allowed 101 countries to get E-visa and 51 countries for visa on arrival.

“We intended to extend VOA system to more countries in the future after negotiating with other related countries,” U Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary of department of immigration and population told The Myanmar Times on August 13.

Currently, citizens of 101 countries can apply for tourist visas and business visas through online system based on the immigration department policy implemented since 2014.

“We requested the immigration department to resume issuing VOA to all countries if it would be possible,” U Tint Thwin said.

The immigration department will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the visa on arrival system and study the experiences of other countries which also allow VOA. Only then will the department decide, he said.

U Ohn Maung, Union minister for hotels and tourism, told The Myanmar Times on July 29 that if the direct flights between Siem Reap in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar could be implemented, more tourists will come if the VOA system is implemented.

“We need the help from the two ministries -- Labor, Immigration and Population and Transportation and Communication – for the visa on arrival issue as well as direct flight connecting regional countries so Bagan would become more attractive to visitors,” U Ohn Maung said.

They are ready to offer VOA in Nyaung-U airport for visitors who come from Angkor Wat in Cambodia even within this year, U Myint Kyaing said.

We already set up the machines for check-point and ready to allow visa on arrival through Nyaung-U airport to be support the ‘two ancient cities, one destination’ agreement by the ministry of hotels and tourism,” he said. “Nyaung-U airport will become the fourth airport where visitors can access visas on arrival for tourists after Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports,” he said.