The Netherlands government has lifted its travel warning on Ngapali beach in Thande township, Rakhine State, declaring the world famous beach to be safe for visitors, but it has kept its travel warning on the ancient city of Mrauk-U.
Mrauk-U and Ngapali beach are the most famous tourist destinations in Rakhine, where travel warnings have been issued by most European countries following the outbreak of violence in northern Rakhine in August last year.
The Netherlands government declared Ngapali as a safe area for travellers, the same rating as Singapore and Thailand, according to its travel warning map.
“Mrauk-U seems to be close to crisis areas such as Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships if you look at the map, but it is actually over 150 kilometres away,” Ma Kyawt Aye Than, a tour guide in Mrauk-U, said.
With the tourist season now entering its peak months, vacationers are gradually returning to Mrauk-U, especially those from Germany, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy, she said.
They used to spend four nights and five days in Mrauk-U and Sittwe, according to Ma Kyawt Aye Than. She added, “Tourists are gradually coming back, but Mrauk-U is still getting rain, so we hope more tourists will come in November and December.”
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said that from January to September, 1638 visitors came to Mrauk-U, 23,074 to Ngapali beach, 4733 to Sittwe and 2089 to Kyauk Phyu.
It also that only 5985 Dutch people visited the country from January to August this year, a decrease of about 33 percent compared to the same period last year.
German tourists also fell by 32pc, Italians by 14pc and Russians by 9pc.
Myanmar had more than 2.25 million international visitors by the end of August, a drop of 1pc compared to the same period last year, the ministry said.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture will in 2019 apply for Mrauk-U to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.