Myanmar has the highest relative tourism growth in Southeast Asia, according to the latest tourism statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Statistics from the UNWTO show that Southeast Asia has the highest growth among Asian sub-regions, with nine per cent more arrivals in 2012.
"In absolute terms, growth was led by Thailand with a 16 per cent increase in tourists over 2011. Cambodia [+24 per cent] and Vietnam [+14 per cent] also posted strong double-digit growth last year. Myanmar saw the highest relative growth with a surge of 52 per cent,” the UNWTO said.
Although Myanmar attracted over 1 million tourists for the first time last year, it is still one of the least visited countries in the Southeast Asian region.
The Asia-Pacific was the fastest growing region in 2012 with a seven per cent increase. The region received a total of 234 million visitors, earning US$324 billion (Bt10 trillion) in international tourism receipts, representing 30 per cent of the world total, according to UNWTO.
Myanmar became a member-country of UNWTO in 1996 and withdrew from the membership of UNWTO in 1998. The country rejoined UNWTO last year after the organisation's secretary-general Dr Taleb Rifai paid a two-day visit to Myanmar and held discussions with President Thein Sein.
Myanmar's room shortage has also prompted foreign investors to take interest in the country's hotel and tourism sector.