The cost of holidaying in Burma will soar by 35-50% from March 31 as the Burmese industry looks to cash in on “unprecedented” levels of demand.
Visitors to the once off-limits destination are anticipated to increase 300% in 2012 to one million tourists, spurred by recent signs of political change, with demand outstripping supply and availability. As a result, suppliers are hiking prices.
Travel Indochina, which recently introduced the destination with a high degree of success, warned retailers that the increases would be seen across Burma’s tourism industry.
“We have been advised that all suppliers including hotels, transportation companies, domestic airlines, restaurants and freelance guides, will be looking to increase their rates due to this unprecedented demand,” managing director Paul Hole revealed.
The issue was being discussed at the highest level within Burma, he said, with tourism officials urging suppliers not to take a short-sighted view.
But in the meantime, new conditions would be implemented that may impact the trade.
“Australian travel agents must be aware that hotels in particular will be seeking to impose strict deposit and cancellation conditions on all bookings to protect themselves against cancellations,” he warned.
While Hole told Travel Today that he was confident of the ongoing success of Travel Indochina’s Burma program, longer quoting times and limited availability would see the destination become problematic for last minute travellers.
He stressed that even with the price hikes, Burma remained “very affordable” with food and day to day travel costs to be largely unaffected.
The operator advised its small group journey rates would not change at the current time, but initial FIT quotes provided for bookings between April 2012 and March 2013 were guidelines only and could not be confirmed until suppliers had confirmed their revised rates.
Existing bookings already confirmed will be honoured, although additional deposits may be required to maintain the booking.