Despite political instability, Myanmar had one of its best tourism seasons last year.
A new report shows 3.44 million people traveled to this Asian nation in 2017, an increase of 18 percent from 2016. While this number is slightly lower than the recent high of 4.68 million in 2015, it’s a strong sign for the country’s growing tourism industry.
Myanmar’s rise in the tourism industry has been nothing short of spectacular. In 1990, the country was only able to attract about 21,000 foreigners. Then, just five years later, about 120,000 foreign tourists took a trip to Myanmar.
The tourism numbers didn’t really take off until Aung San Suu Kyi was released from prison in 2010. In 2010, about 790,000 foreigners visited Myanmar. That number skyrocketed to 3.08 million in 2014 and has never gone below 2 million since. The only country that has had as impressive a rise in tourist traffic recently is Cambodia.
For those who don’t know, Aung San Suu Kyi is a major activist in Myanmar who has served in many important governmental roles. Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Some of the most popular sites in Myanmar include the ancient Buddhist temples of Bagan and the central Inle Lake. Many visitors also like to tour the Irrawaddy region and the capital of Naypyidaw.
Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, is located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Thailand, China, India, Bangladesh, and Laos. There are 55.1 million people living in Myanmar, over 80 percent of which identify as Buddhists.