Many tourism activities were suspended in 2020, with numbers of local and international travellers having all but disappeared.
Despite the pandemic some travel agencies in Yangon have been planning for a more positive 2021, when some of the restrictions are lifted or eased.
Myanmar Walks travel agency is among those who are trying to resume, hoping to offer Yangonites enjoyable and engaging tours across Yangon.
“The company plans to restart its downtown walking tours in early 2021,” said Ko Win Maung Thant, co-founder of the company.
When they do resume Myanmar Walks will commence with two of their most famous trips – the Yangon Heritage Walk’ and the ‘Beyond the Kongbaung Tour’.
“We will wait to see what the government says, but we’re hopeful about resuming our tours based on the government statements,” he said.
The company will visit the same sites as previous years, but will limit tour groups to five or less.
Whilst some agencies exclusively target foreigners, Myanmar Walks aims to cater to more locals. Trips last around three hours, and provide walkers with opportunities for light exercise and to better acquaint themselves with the city.
“The tours are a lot of fun, and I would love to restart them as I have run out of money,” said tourist guide Ko Lin Nyunt.
The walking tours in Yangon are K15,000 for local travellers and $15 for foreigners. Foreigners who live in Yangon often contact the company, as they are looking for some outdoor activities to alleviate the boredom from staying at home, said Yangon Walking Tour’ Ko Michael.
“They want to do something outside of the house, and many are just waiting for us to resume. The walks are a good form of exercise too,” he said.
There are almost ten agencies offering walking tours around Yangon, and around half expect their operations to restart in the coming months.
“The tourism industry will rebound only when people have money. As people are short of money, they can’t really travel anywhere or spend money. We hope things will get back to normal soon,” said Ko Michael. – Translated