Govt Suspends Rule For Some Visitors to Show Proof of Funds

By San Yamin Aung 2 August 2018

YANGON — The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has suspended a rule due to take effect on Oct. 1 requiring some travelers to prove access to $1,000 when applying for tourist visas on arrival, as initially stipulated in a new plan to ease visa requirements for visitors from China, Japan and South Korea.

U Myint Htwe, deputy director of the ministry, said the decision to suspend the requirement was made based on negative feedback last week from travel and tourism organizations that said it would be difficult for the visitors.

The requirement to prove access to a substantial amount of money when applying for a visa was introduced by the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, he said, adding that it was regulated in accordance with international practices.

After last week’s discussions among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population and representatives from a number of travel and tourism associations and agencies, the plan was reconsidered and later suspended.

Despite the ministry’s efforts to draw more foreign visitors – especially from East Asian nations – to the country, the requirement to present $1,000 upon arrival was met with criticism as an outdated policy which would ultimately deter visitors.

Under the ministry’s recent decision to relax visa requirements in order to boost tourist numbers, citizens of Japan, South Korean and China will be able to apply for visas on arrival at certain border crossings and airports, depending on which of these countries they are from. Chinese passport holders ,including those from Hong Kong and Macau SAR, will be charged a visa fee of $50, while visas will be free of charge for Japanese and South Korean passport holders.