Friday, 13 December 2019

Mizzima News

Home > News > Election 2010 > Visa on arrival stopped as poll date nears

Visa on arrival stopped as poll date nears

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Seeking to tighten control on foreigners entering the country, Burmese authorities will suspend the issuance of visas on arrival commencing on the first of next month, a senior official from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in Naypyitaw said.

arrival-visa-banVisas on arrival had been issued at Rangoon and Mandalay International Airports since four months previously, but the service is to be temporarily suspended ahead of the November 7 general election, he elaborated.

“It will last at least three months,” the official said of the action. “It will certainly affect and slow down the tourism industry. But our ministry can’t do anything, as it is a directive coming directly from the state level. Tourists will face more difficulties as will tour guides. All businesses related to the tourism industry will be in chaos.”

“Suspension of the visa on arrival service will adversely affect us. I think this order was issued to gain tighter control on the people who will come to observe the upcoming election. They don’t want these observers to see their unfair practices in this election,” a tour guide who has been in the business for over ten years commented.

An immigration officer at Rangoon International Airport added that he was so far unaware of the edict, being instructed to only study the total number of tourists arriving and foreign currency earned.

European tourists have thus far been the ones to most take advantage of the visa on arrival service, a responsible person from Union of Myanmar Tourism Association said.

Some 200,000 tourists entered Burma in 2009, an increase of 23,000 from 2008 but still 50,000 fewer than in 2007.

It is also reported that the junta has stopped issuing visas to INGO staff in Burma working on Cyclone Nargis relief operations.

The change affecting social workers comes less than ten days after the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) and the junta’s Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Department said rehabilitation work stemming from the aftereffects of Cyclone Nargis needed to remain a top priority.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

Download Mobile App