Wed 1 Jun 2005
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Burma’s recently revived tourism industry reported a widespread downturn on Tuesday as travelers stayed away in droves following the nearly simultaneous bomb blasts in Rangoon on May 7.
Tourism revenue had jumped 17.4 percent in 2004, the semi-official The Myanmar Times reported in February, but the blasts that rocked the capital have pushed the industry back into decline, sources said.
â€œPassengers just vanished,â€ said a spokesperson for one leading international airline that flies to Rangoon. It reported a 30 percent drop in traffic.
Burma’s flagship carrier, Myanmar Airways International, said bookings had dropped by at least 20 percent, while an international hotel in downtown Rangoon said it has received a succession of cancellations since May 7.
The United States and South Korea are still warning their respective citizens against travel to Burma.
The junta had been projecting a record 750,000 international tourists for 2005, an industry which is second only to oil and gas as an earner of foreign exchange for the regime, according to official figures.
Sources in Rangoon say that the traditionally quiet Monsoon tourist season, which begins in May, looks set to remain stagnant with zero percent growth now forecasted and prospects dim for the high season between November and April 2006.
A spokesman for City Mart, one of the two supermarkets bombed, has said it will re-open in mid-June.