There is a good news for tourists, be it pilgrims or adventure enthusiasts and traders. Officials inform that a new border gate between India and Myanmar is going to be opened, soon. U Thein Swe, the Immigration Minister of Mayanmar informed that soon a new international border gate will be opened at Tamu, Sagaing. He added that there is enthusiasm among the authorities of both the countries.
Swe said that the decision of signing an agreement was under discussion between the foreign ministers of the two nations. He said, “We’ve already met with the Indian ambassador, who said his government wanted to open the gate. We expect it will be open within the next four months.” He cleared all the air about this matter at Amyotha Hluttaw while dealing with questions from his MPs. He added, “The Tamu border gate will promote improvements in religious, social and commercial contacts.”
Previously, there are four gates Tachileik, Myawady, Htee Khee and Kawthoung, which provide a passageway to the tourists. The Tamu gate is going to be the fifth one. The tourism ministry stated that the numbers of caravan tours coming to Mayanmar till October 31 this year were up by 20 percent in comparison to last year. Till September, 2.2 million foreign visitors had entered Mayanmar, via land borders.
It is being expected that there is going to be an increase in the number of caravan tours once the gate at Tamu opens. These tours would be able to pass through Myanmar, via Thailand or Vietnam. On a positive note, Daw Aye Sander, director of Mother Irrawaddy travel and caravan tours, says, “Tamu will become an important border gate. And caravan tours from the Myanmar-Thailand borders can cross Myanmar to visit Imphal and Bhutan.”
She further informed that the ministry of tourism takes around seven days to grant permission to the caravan tours to enter. This permission, however, can be withheld in case of any security risks, as is the case at Muse border gate.
In the current times, traders and tourists can enter from Tamu-Moreh and Khawmawi and Rikhawdar – the Myanmar village pair, which connect with village Zokhawthar in Mizoram state of India. One is required to pay an entry fee of INR 10 per person and INR 100 rupees per vehicle, per day.
Minister Swe said, “The Indian government is very enthusiastic about signing the agreement on Tamu-Moreh, which would boost businesses and tourism and allow pilgrimages. We want to implement this as soon as possible.”
A tourism development conference was held last week in Manipur where the travel agencies in India expressed their interest in selling tours packages and trips to Tamu and Kalay in Sagaing Region, by crossing India-Myanmar land border. This conference was also attended by, tourism representatives from Myanmar. This proposal was discussed with the Myanmar officials a number of time but the plan was delayed due to late reply from Myanmar.
In a press conference on 24th November, secretary of India’s Ministry of Tourism, Vinod Zutshi had informed that India is making efforts to make a connection with a number of countries for offering tour packages, in order to promote tourism-based community development. Myanmar is one of those countries. He said, “We are trying to have some kind of connectivity between Northeast India and areas further east including Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries in the ASEAN.”