Tourist arrivals in Myanmar through Yangon entry checkpoint alone hit over 47,000 in the first four months (April-July) of the fiscal year 2007-08, up 20 percent from 2006-07 correspondingly, the local Weekly Eleven News reported Tuesday.

These tourists came in the form of free independent traveler and package tour, the report quoted the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism as saying.

During the period, visitors with other visas reached over 26, 000, up 5 percent correspondingly, the report said.

According to local statistics, in 2006-07, a total of 654,602 foreign tourists visited Myanmar, gaining 198.48 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 11.4 percent compared with the previous year.

Of the 654,602 tourists visiting Myanmar in 2006-07, 276,613 entered through Yangon checkpoint, 5,763 through Mandalay and Bagan checkpoints and 372,226 through border checkpoints, the figures show.

Of the types of tours, package tour accounted for 25 percent, while free independent traveler 47 percent and the rest with other visas 28 percent.

The tourists visiting Myanmar mostly came from Thailand, China, South Korea and Japan in Asia, Germany, France and Italy in West Europe and some countries in North America.

Myanmar so far has over 600 hotels with 23,000 rooms as well as 700 travel and tour companies.

Since the Myanmar Hotels and Tourism Ministry started conducting tourist guides training courses in 1992, it has brought up more than 6,000 tourist guides up to 2006 respectively skilled in English, Japanese, French, Chinese, Thai, German, Russian, Italian and Korean languages, the ministry sources disclosed.

More figures revealed that contracted foreign investment in the sector of hotels and tourism has so far amounted to 1.06 billion dollars since Myanmar started to open to such investment in late 1988. Of the investment, that in hotel projects amounted to over 580 million dollars.