From 1 October 2018, tourists from China, Japan and South Korea will be able to travel to Myanmar without a visa. The new approach, which aims to encourage tourism to Myanmar, was announced by Vice President U Henry Van Thio at the Myanmar Tourism Conference in June and will be introduced as a one-year trial.
Myanmar currently does not require tourist visas for travellers from eight fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The inclusion of the three new countries is another sign that Myanmar is continuing its efforts to encourage tourists from Asia to travel to Myanmar.
Visitors to Myanmar have increased from around 390,000 in 2011, to roughly 1.36 million in 2017, with 70% of total visitors being from Asian countries. The Vice President stated that Myanmar wanted to take advantage of the increase in tourists from ASEAN travellers, and by waiving the need to have a visa, would encourage more tourists and businessmen to visit the country.
Travellers from each of the countries who plan to take advantage of the waiver program will be asked to carry US$1,000 cash when entering the country to cover expenses. For Chinese travellers, a visa-on-arrival ("VOA") program will be introduced, whereby visitors will need to pay an additional sum of US$50. The VOA will cover a stays of up to 30 days for the purpose of tourism only.