Tourism sector in Arakan suffers from prohibition of foreigners visit

Mrauk U: The tourism sector in Arakan state is suffering from authorities in the tourism department who have barred foreigners visiting Arakan’s ancient City Mrauk U, said a hotel owner.

 Tourism sector in Arakan

The Burmese authority has not issued any notice publicly to bar foreigners visiting the ancient city of Mrauk U but has instructed the matter to all hotel owners as well as travelling agencies running in Arakan state through the telephone.

A hotel owner, who does not want to disclose his name, said “ Many people who are involved in the tourism sector are now suffering from the ban of tourists visiting our town.

“ We were told by the authority not to allow foreigners staying at hotels in Mrauk U over the phone if the foreigners arrive at Mrauk U someway. The authority also instructed traveling agencies not send foreigners to Mrauk U” he said.

Even though the authority barred foreigners visit in Mrauk u, the authority has not explained clearly and officially the reason behind the barring of foreigners visiting Mrauk U.

However, many residents in Mrauk U believe the prohibition of foreigners visiting Mrauk U is linked to last year’s sectarian violence. The view of hotel owner is different with the local people and he told us that is a discrimination policy of government.

“ The violence took place a village in Mrauk U Township but it is 6 miles away from downtown of Mrauk U. It is not concerned with recent violence. This is government plan to destroy the tourism sector in Arakan state under a discrimination policy,” the hotel owner said.

U Tin Tun Aung, general Secretary of Myanmar traveling owner association  said  that his group has tried to lift ( Withdraw) the ban but the authority in the traveling and tourism department gave security reasons as there is no stability in Arakan.

” We hope the authority will open up and allow foreigners to visit Mrauk U soon as the situation in Arakan state is improving now. So we hope the tourism sector in Arakan will be prosperous again,” U Tin siad.

Mrauk U is an ancient city of Arakan where many Buddhist antiques like pagodas, stupa, caves, ancient palaces and Buddha statues. Mrauk U existed over 300 years a royal city till AD 1784 from AD 1430.

Mrauk U is a spotlight of tourism in Burma where over 100 Foreigners visited a day during the tourism season in 2011-12 fiscal year but this year there are no tourists in Mrauk U except INGO workers due to the authority banning.