Myanmar to start accepting tourist e-visa applications beginning on Sunday, May 15 2022, more than one and half years after the country stopped all new e-visa applications due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our Online e-Visa service will resume with effect from May 15, 2022, for tourist visa applications,” the Immigration and Population Ministry said on Thursday.
The move came after Myanmar resumed international commercial flight operations on April 17 and the reopening of its borders to international travellers. The official data released by the Ministry of Health also showed the country’s Covid-19 daily positivity rate has been below one per cent for more than a month since April 4.
The Southeast Asian country resumed accepting applications for business e-visas on April 1. Myanmar launched the online visa application platform in September 2014 and is accepting e-visa applications from this website.
Activist groups warn that the military’s vested interests in swathes of the economy – including mines, banks, petroleum, agriculture and tourism – mean tourist dollars will likely end up in the junta’s coffers.
“Even if foreign visitors avoid hotels and transport owned by the Myanmar military and their associates, they will still fund the junta through visa fees, insurance and tax,” said activist group Justice for Myanmar.
“We call on anyone considering a holiday in Myanmar to boycott.” After democracy was established in 2011 following decades of military rule, Myanmar opened up to tourists, becoming popular with travellers seeking an exotic destination away from the well-trodden backpacker haunts of Southeast Asia.
But the tourism sector was battered by the pandemic, with the country registering 40,000 daily Covid-19 cases at its peak last year. It has recorded almost 20,000 deaths in total.
Clashes between anti-coup fighters and security forces following the military takeover, including in the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay, have also dented business, with many international firms pulling out of the nation.