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Pagan, Burma hosts a number of temples (Roger Price)

Burma 'unable to cope' with new-found popularity

24th March 2012

Not only are tour operators struggling with the influx of visitors, hotels and airlines are overwhelmed with bookings as well

Asian media agency TravelWire Asia has reported that the country is 'struggling to cope with the influx' of tourists arriving in Burma. Adding that airlines are currently requiring waiting lists and hotels are doubling room rates, they also state: "good luck getting a hotel room."

Burma has been named one of the hotest destinations of 2012 and the visitors are flocking to the country. In fact, Wanderlust awarded Burma fourth place in the 'Top Country' category in our annual Travel Awards.

Initially only tour operators were struggling with the demand. But now Burma's new-found popularity has created impressive waiting lists for flight reservations and has caused room rates to double because hotels are operating at full capacity.

At the moment, the little-visited country is a place of traveller's dreams; full of red-robed monks, British colonial relics and creaky teak monuments. But for how long?

In haste to welcome back the world's wayfarers, new policies are being prepared to ensure foreign businesses like Starbucks and hotel chains are able to start-up franchises more easily.

However, some concerns have been raised about the type of travel that Burma might be encouraging. Calls for high-end and limited tourism have been suggested to preserve the unspoilt grace and charm of the country.

In 2011, Burmese immigration issued some 300,000 visas – 30% more than the previous year. Despite being one of the largest countries in South-East Asia, it welcomes far fewer tourists than neighbouring Thailand, at least for the time being.

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