Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is shaking off its renegade image following its brutal, ten-year long military rule, that spurred a boycott on tourism. The country is suddenly finding itself popular, which has created a flight wait list, run on hotels and an increase in room rates, according to AP reports.
The demands may be further fueled by Pro-democracy crusader Aun San Suu Kyi’s parliamentary seat win in the elections held on the weekend. Kyi, a former political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, signed off on the travel boycott, that was lifted in 2011 with her blessing, after promises were made for reforms on the country’s ruling generals.
According to the Myanmar Times, tourism increased by 20% last year, which is quite an increase although it is small in comparison to neighboring Thailand’s 19 million tourists last year.
For the first time, a number of tour operators based in the United States are offering Myanmar tours. The Overseas Adventure Travel’s Burma tours, based in Boston, has found their demands for packages greatly increasing. So far, this year, their travel departures went from 40 to 61, and they are hoping to schedule even more.
Australian-based, Intrepid Travel, started booking tours for Myanmar this November and by late February, they had sold out. They are now adding more departures and currently have availability.
The new tour’s itinerarys:
Intrepid Travel: This 15-day vacation package includes tours (land only) from $2,310, per person, double. Transportation within the country of Myanmar and 15 meals.
Pacific Delight Tours’ Myanmar Discovery: This program includes a “lavish” 10-night/9-day stay from $4,449 per person, double. Also included is airfare from San Francisco or Los Angeles. The seven departures until March 2013, includes 29 meals and all transportation inside Myanmar.
Overseas Adventure Travel: The 15-day (land only) vacation takes in the capital city Yangon (formerly called Rangoon); the second-largest city, Mandalay; Bagan (nee Pagan), the home of thousands of ancient temples; Inle Lake; and Kalaw for $2,995. This package also includes six internal flights, land transportation and 31 meals, one of which is at the home of a Mayanmar family.