India’s visa-free policy brings more tourists to Myanmar


Travellers from Myanmar to India have reportedly gone up by more than 10% last year when compared to 2016. The free visa to Myanmar citizens was declared by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to Myanmar in last September and the free visa policy was initiated that month itself.

Most travellers from Myanmar are reportedly visiting Bodh Gaya. Around 30,000 pilgrims used to visit annual Bodh Gaya festival every year and now more than 50,000 pilgrims from Myanmar came to attend the festival in 2017. According to ministry reports, Myanmar travellers are also coming for medical tours and adventure trips to Himalayas Mountain, not just pilgrimages.

Bodh Gaya

“The number 50,000 is not really large, but we see a lot of potential as electronic visa and free visas are easy to get. Better air and land connections between the two countries will also increase traffic between India and Myanmar,” said Rashmi Verma, Secretary, India’s Ministry of Tourism

The flow of travellers from Myanmar is also a boon for India’s north-eastern region, which is close to Myanmar. The land route border crossing is expected to open in two places that will allow Myanmar travellers to visit. For the first time, the embassy of India in Yangon and India’s Ministry of Tourism held a tourism promotion event in Myanmar which brought delegations to meet with Myanmar travel and tour companies on Monday in Yangon.

“This is a good opportunity for the people between the two countries to engage with each other and look at the business opportunities for sending tourists from Myanmar to India or India to Myanmar. Medical tourism from Myanmar is not very large at the moment but the potential is huge. Also we are looking forward to young people from Myanmar who are showing a lot of interesting in Himalayas adventure tourism activities” added Rashmi.

The travellers have the option of applying visas at the consulate in Mandalay and the Indian embassy in Yangon. The embassy in Yangon can process up to 200 visa applications for tour companies and 50 for individuals daily. It takes 3-7 days for visa processing in Yangon whereas the Mandalay consulate issue visas in a day.