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Myanmar ditches visa requirement for the Philippines
Marianne Carandang, Manila, January 8, 2014
 

MYANMAR began allowing Philippine nationals to enter the country visa-free for up to 14 days on January 4, although pricing and supply challenges remain.
 

Simon Ang, managing director-operations at Celebrate Life TLC, said: "Yes, it's an advantage not to have to apply for a visa. The only problem is there are still no direct flights." 

 

With flights mostly transiting in Singapore or Bangkok, Ang does not foresee dramatic growth in travellers to Myanmar anytime soon. 

 

Furthermore, accommodation demand still outpaces supply. Ang commented: "Hotels are really booked. Four-, five-star properties have to be reserved two to three months ahead."

 

However, Filipinos tend to plan their travels within a shorter timeframe, he said.

 

Ang, who has three groups going to Myanmar between now and end-February, said that his business remains primarily leisure-based but he has handled several trade missions recently. "The chambers of commerce, top businessmen are also going," Ang remarked.

 

Patricia Escobal, operations manager for tours at FCM Travel Solutions Philippines, said pricing tours to Myanmar remains a challenge as inbound operators quote high prices.

 

Tour programmes to Myanmar focus on Mandalay, Yangon, and Bago, thus making domestic flights necessary. "This makes the packages as expensive as going to Australia, New Zealand, or Europe," Escobal said.

 

Myanmar and Cambodia last month also agreed to a mutual visa exemption for ordinary passport holders, reported Xinhua news agency.

 

 
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