Most visitors to Burma are from Asia and the biggest nationality groups are Thai and Chinese, said an Asean travel and tourism report.

It said 16 percent of tourists visiting Burma came from Thailand and 12 percent from China.

Despite the growing numbers, tourism contributed only 0.2 percent of Burma’s gross domestic product in 2011, said the study, compared with an average 4.6 percent for the 10 member countries of Asean, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Pagoda Yangoon
The recent reforms by the Myanmar government means entrance of foreign investment is becoming easier

This could change if the government succeeds in attracting 3 million tourists per year by 2015, compared with about 1 million in 2012.

However, Burma’s tourism infrastructure is so far failing to keep up with visitor numbers, according to the Bangkok-based travel trade magazine TTR Weekly.

“Delays in granting hotels operating permits causes operational headaches and add to administration costs for hoteliers opening properties in [Burma],” said TTR.

“Hoteliers say there are properties that can welcome tourists, but are still waiting for approval and essential documents from government departments to allow them to open.”

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