Myanmar has banned outbound package tour arranged by domestic travel and tour companies, the local Voice journal reported Monday.
Meeting with hoteliers and businessmen from travel agencies in Nay Pyi Taw recently, Director of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism U Hlaing Win said that domestic travel agencies are allowed only to arrange inbound package tour services within the country for domestic and foreign travelers but not for outbound package tour services for them.
The official warned of taking action against companies which break the tourism-related rules and regulations.
However, whether the package tours such as pilgrimage, Singapore and Bangkok ones being introduced by some companies are covered by the ban or not, remained unclear, the report said.
According to the ministry figures, there are 733 registered travel and tour companies in Myanmar.
Tourist arrivals in the country 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, other local reports said.
These tourists came in the form of free independent traveler and package tour.
During the period, visitors with other visas reached over 26, 000, up 5 percent correspondingly, the report added.
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, in addition to the 733 travel companies.