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Published on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 20:42
Travel restrictions on foreign tourists to the war-torn Kachin State are still in effect since it was imposed three months ago, sources from the tourism industry say.
Win Tin, managing director of Journeys Travels and Tours, said tourists who want to visit only Kachin State are still waiting for the right time, while those who just want to go on arduous journeys take alternative trips to Chin State instead.
Most of the locals in Putao [in Kachin State] make their living on the tourism industry, and they take up 95 per cent of the jobs in Putao’s service sector, according to Win Tin, “I feel bad for them now that business has been halted."
"We cannot get permission to send [tourists] to Myitkyina and Bhamo [cities in Kachin]. Now, some [tour companies] are sending [the tourists] to the Chin State instead of the Kachin State," said Aung Din, the managing director of Nature Lovers Travels & Tours.
Foreign tourists need to apply for special permissions in advance before travelling to certain states and regions in Myanmar, including Kachin State, Rakhine State and Chin State.
The Kachin State is famous for its snow-peaked mountains in far north, beautiful landscapes, the confluence area of the birthplace of the Ayeyarwady River and the river cruise between Bhamo and Mandalay.
Fighting between the Myanmar army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has resumed since June 2011. The conflict broke out in Moemauk Township in Bhamo District and later spread to other areas including Myitkyina and Waingmaw.
Last year, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism placed travel restriction on Sittwe and Mrauk U in Rakhine State, and Maing Lar area in Shan State citing security concern.