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Myanmar junta to reopen borders to tourists

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From Channel News Asiia

YANGON: Myanmar's junta will allow tourists to apply for visas after a break of more than two years, state media said Thursday (May 12), sparking calls by an activist group for foreign travellers to stay away.

The country closed its borders to visitors in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to prevent infections rising.

It was further isolated after the army toppled the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, prompting huge protests and a bloody military crackdown on dissent.

"With an aim to develop the tourism sector ... e-Visa (Tourist) applications will be allowed and accepted from May 15, 2022," said a notice in the Global New Light of Myanmar.

It did not give details on when the first visitors could be expected to arrive.

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."

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