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Military eyes reopening Myanmar to tourists, shadow government says “stay away”

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Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The State Administrative Council under the Myanmar military junta on Tuesday said it will reopen the country by next month, starting with border crossings with China and Thailand, ahead of a scheduled resumption of welcoming international tourists in the second quarter of 2022.

It comes amid continued internal clashes between civilian and military troops in the aftermath of the military coup on February 1.

Even though many foreign investors and businesses had already departed Myanmar, such as Norway’s Telenor group, the military-appointed Minister of Information Maung Maung Ohn claimed it was the first move to open the door for further international investments and business revival.

In July, the World Bank said Myanmar’s economy is predicted to collapse by roughly 18 percent in Myanmar’s fiscal year 2021 (Oct 2020-Sept 2021), with negative consequences for lives, livelihoods, poverty, and future growth.

A statement on the Ministry of Information’s website says “travel restrictions will be eased at Muse which borders China’s Ruili, and Tachileik, Kawthaung, and Htee Kee, which border Thailand.”

During the interview with The Straits Times, Maung Maung Ohn mentioned major tourist destinations such as Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, Chaungtha and Ngwe Saung beaches have been designated for visitors, with the military and police force ensuring their safety.

He also said that Covid-19 is no longer a problem in Myanmar, claiming that the government continues to get vaccines, mostly from China and other donors, and that immunisation rates have “much improved”.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s parallel government warned tourists to stay away from the country as it is in total chaos as daily bombings and shootings take place nationwide in the wake of a “defensive war” against the military junta by civilian forces in early September.

“Our citizens are being slaughtered, raped, jailed, and their homes and belongings are being confiscated or destroyed. This isn’t the time to go sightseeing,” Tin Tun Naing, minister for planning, finance, and investment from the National Unity Government’s (NUG) told the newspaper.

SOURCE: Straits Times

 

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