The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its latest press release that it will coordinate with the Government of Norway to assist Myanmar in developing tourism through a 500-million-USD Tourism Master Plan.

The plan consists of 38 development projects that will help increase the Myanmar tourism sector’s competitiveness, protect the environment in important areas, and safeguard ethnic communities.

They will focus on expanding international air arrivals in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, improving and upgrading ports in the Bagan river, and building feeder roads in destinations of Ngapali beach and Inle Lake.

“This master plan outlines a path to welcoming more visitors to Myanmar without threatening our unique cultural heritage or endangering pristine environments”, said Myanmar’s Minister for Hotels and Tourism U Htay Aung.

He further said that if Myanmar continues implementing economic, political and social reforms, international visitor arrivals are forecast to rise as high as 7.5 million in 2020, a seven-fold increase from the current number, with corresponding tourism receipts worth 10.1 billion USD and 1.4 million jobs to be created.

Tourism will be a pillar of Myanmar’s economy, and it has the potential to create job opporutnities for the local people, including those living in poor communities, said ADB Vice President Stephen Groff.

He added that the plan is a long-term vision, and a solid start to ensure tourism contributes to equitable social and economic development in Myanmar.

Statistics showed that nearly half a million visitors arrived in Myanmar by air last year, with most of them from Thailand, China, Japan, the US, the Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK.-VNA