The country just scraped into the list, coming in at number nine after Canada, Colombia, Finland, Dominica, Nepal, Bermuda, Mongolia and Oman, and beating Ethiopia by one place.
Lonely Planet said “change has been a long time coming in the nation, but the election of the first civilian government in half a century has all eyes on the future”.
“No one is pretending that all Myanmar’s problems have gone away, but things are moving in the right direction, and Southeast Asia’s most secretive country is poised to receive an influx of travelers,” it said.
“Visiting comes with challenges, but the reward is a window onto a vanishing Asia, where the difficulties of travel are part of the appeal, and where life moves to the timeless rhythm of chanting monks and monastery bells.”
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism forecast that international visitors in 2016 would increase from 4.68 million in 2015 to six million, the Myanmar Times reported in March.
Last year three million travelers, or one quarter of total tourists, came to Myanmar via international airports at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, according to their figures.
But most visiting are said to be “day-trippers” who have crossed the border with Thailand and China.
Tin Tun Aung, managing director of Thingazar Travels & Tours Co, a Yangon-based travel agency set up on 2001 and offering tours of Myanmar, said the country’s inclusion in the list was “great”. But “the expectation of coming travelers are challenges for Myanmar’s tourism industry”, they told Myanmore.
“Destination managements, trainings for human resources, transports, etc. are in dire need to keep up in the world top list,” said Aung.
“On top of all things which would take time on their own, I would like to urge for efficient business practices of online payments, reasonable pricing and credit card usages free from ‘USD only’ commerce and free from ‘crisp and new USD bills only’.”
For more about this topic, see Myanmar Times coverage Tourism ministry aims for 6 million visitors and Tourism companies struggle as number of visitors falls below targets.