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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Myanmar emerges as a hot tourist destination for Indians

Sidhartha Roy , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 22, 2013
First Published: 00:28 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 02:21 IST(22/6/2013)

With everyone and their mothers-in-law having already been to Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore, adventurous Delhiites are now exploring newer and unexplored shores closer home.

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Once shunned by tourists, Myanmar is slowly becoming a favoured tourist destination of Indians, a large chunk of whom are from Delhi and neighbouring areas. Myanmar offers pristine beaches and crystal clear waters, virgin forests, snowcapped mountains and a rich history.

Though not a very popular destination yet, the number of tourists from India has almost doubled in the last three years. Travel agencies and portals are now offering special packages for trips to this neighbouring country.

Ruled by a military hunta, tourists have kept off Myanmar for long but the authorities are now trying to revive tourism in the country. Though the largest number of tourists to Myanmar comes from China, Thailand and US, the number of Indians is growing too.

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"Myanmar is very tourist-friendly and offers great destinations, shopping and food. It has the potential to grow as a tourist destination," said Richa Goyal Sikri, Director, STIC Travel Group.

"Our group was a pioneer in offering tour packages for Myanmar and the number of tourists has grown in the last few years."

Sikri said Myanmar not only offers beautiful destinations but is also value for money. "The country, however, has a lot of catching up to do in infrastructure and hotels," she said.

"Myanmar has become very popular in the last few years and traffic has been increasing," said Rajji Rai of Travel Agents Association of India.

"A lot of Indians are visiting Myanmar and it has huge potential to grow. Traffic would further increase when we have direct flights to Myanmar," said Keyur Joshi, COO of travel portal makemytrip.com.

Another neighbouring country that is becoming popular among tourists from Delhi-NCR is Sri Lanka.

"Sri Lanka was very popular with Delhiites but it had fallen off the radar due to security concerns in the last few years," Rai said.


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