The Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association (MTM) is targeting Japanese tour and media companies in an effort to attract more travelers from the country.
The association is currently holding a familiarization trip — the first ever organized by the MTM — for a Japanese group, which is touring marine and diving sites in Kawthaung.
The group arrived in Yangon on March 15 and explored the city first. The next day, the group headed to Kawthaung where they visited hilltop pagodas and the Bayint Naung View point. Later they headed to Nyaung Oo Phee Island for snorkeling and diving.
The trip, which lasts until March 29, is supported by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
“MTM is organizing this FAM trip. We are supporting them because we believe such trips can achieve really good results. They are starting with Japan, and will organize more trips with people from other countries like South Korea,” said U Ohn Maung, the hotels and tourism minister.
“In terms of beauty, the islands of Kawthaung are world class, and really pretty. There’s no damage to the coral and the marine life is diverse. My experience on this trip has been amazing and I will share it with other Japanese for sure,” said a representative from Japanese Dive Magazine.
Yasuyuki Suzuki, general manager of All Nippon Airways, said that “Japanese tourists don’t usually take long holidays like people from Europe, so they don’t have much time to stay in one place. Japanese travelers want easy access to destinations for short periods. Currently, we have daily flights between Yangon and Japan, but the flights are not always full. So, we can’t add more flights. If the travelers can make a direct transit flight to Kawthaung or other destinations, that would be super.”
The MTM chose the Tanintharyi Region on the Andaman Sea coast because it boasts 800 islands, most of which are still unspoiled. The underwater environment around the islands is pristine, the beaches are covered in white sand, and the coral reefs are amazing.
“We have a plan to renovate several airports including Heho, Pakokku, Kawthaung and Ngapali. This will allow direct flights, making the destinations easier to reach for tourists,” U Ohn Maung said.
The MTM plans to organize two more FAM trips to Inle and Bagan.