CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Myanmar Launches E-Visa in Hopes of Raising Number of Tourists to 5 Million

Shwe Dagon pagoda

(Photo : REUTERS/Minzayar ) One of the famous tourist spots in Myanmar is the Shwe Dagon pagoda located in Yangon.

In order to end the painstaking length of time that tourists generally have to wait for a visa to visit Myanmar, the country launched a brand new online electronic E-Visa system on Monday in hopes of making the nation more accessible to visitors from around the globe.

At the opening ceremony for the launch held in Yangon, U Khin Yi, the Minister of Immigration and Population of Myanmar, noted that by next year they want at  least 5 million tourists to be visiting the country annually.

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Khin Yi said that the launching of the E-visa was a special moment for their country. The once reserved nation wants to make the processes easier in order to lure in more travelers.

The E-Visa is said to be a big step since Myanmar is not considered to be a highly technologically equipped nation.

The country has been governed by the military for decades which was known as "junta". The junta ruling ended on 2011 and was replaced by a civilian government.

The junta rule discouraged tourists from visiting the country as they were inspected by the regime or were frightened by international sanctions.

However, since 2011, tourists have started to explore the country. According to reports, there were over two million visitors last year and it is hoped there will be more in coming years.

The E-Visa is said to be open to forty-one countries, including Singapore, China, North Korea, Japan, the Unites States, and Britain. Khin Yi added that once the process improves, they will be extending it and making it available to more countries.

Khin Yi noted that there will be an entry permit costing US$50 which will be valid for 28 days upon arrival at Yangon's international airport. Tourists will have to wait for five days for their e-visa to be processed.

The E-Visa project was developed over a period of nearly two years and has cost Myanmar almost US$17 million. However, it is hoped that the investment will pay off with greater yields from tourism.

In line with the expected arrival of more tourists, Myanmar will be building a new airport in Yangon as well as building a more lucrative tourism market.

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