Starting from Wednesday, January 31st, 2018, NEOS Airline, an Italian leisure airline base in Milan will establish the direct flying route Milan-Yangon to link between Europe and Myanmar. This remarks an important milestone for Myanmar tourism industry cause since there is no direct flight from Europe to Myanmar, visitors from this region traveling to Myanmar have to fly to one of the regional hubs in Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or HongKong before taking the next flight to transfer to Yangon or Mandalay International Airport of Myanmar. This new flight operated to follow the route from Milan to Myanmar via Phu Quoc as a part of its route before landing at Yangon International Airport instead. Neos is the pioneer airline to open the flight route from Europe to Myanmar with the flights every Wednesday using the Boeing 767-300 ERW. The new flight is expected to transfer more visitors to Myanmar after implementing the inaugural trip.
Under the statistic from the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, Italian visitors traveling to Myanmar up to September 2017 has reached 11, 976%, though the total visitors has decreased from 14.6% to 10.221%.
Mr. U Aung Myat Kyaw, managing director of Orchestra Travel Company shared in a talk with The Myanmar Times that: “This is a chance for Myanmar to promote its tourism offerings as arrivals from Europe are dropping. Even Vietnam has lowered its visa fees and requirements as an incentive for travelers on the Neos Air flight. We should consider similar incentives to encourage charter flights from other countries as well”. Additionally, he said: “The airline intends to fly the route weekly from October 31st up to the first week of next April and will consider using bigger aircraft for the flight is there is sufficient demand”. He also showed his hope to the success of the flight in the future, making Myanmar become widely known to foreign visitors as a tourist attraction in the world.
In order to celebrate this event, a ceremony for the first flight that Union Minister U Thant Sin Maung and U Ohn Maung welcomed thirty-five passengers to Myanmar. That, half of them from travel agents. According to Dr. Aung Myat Kyaw, the first flight carries 250 passengers and up to the end of December, the flights will carry over 300.
An Italian coupled who were on the first trip with other 35 passengers, expressed their happiness to the opening of the direct flight to Myanmar. They said that Mandalay, Bagan, Inlay, and Kyeikhtiyoe will be the tourist attractions in Myanmar that they will visit during their vacation.
Furthermore, in the effort to making Myanmar become an ideal destination for more foreign visitors, Myanmar has eased the restrictions on visa and give Myanmar visa exemption for tourists from South Korean, Japan, Macao, Hong Kong, and Chinese tourists who travel to Myanmar by air.