There’s a sense of joy and excitement on the streets as Burma welcomes the SEA Games.
43-year-old Nyunt Nyunt Win is a mother of two who lives in Yangon.
“There will be lots of foreign tourists coming for the games. So we will have foreign money coming in.”
Some roads have been rebuilt to make the cities look better for the SEA Games. But with lots of cars and bad road management, traffic is often overwhelming in Yangon.
This 47-year-old taxi driver says sometimes he can’t make any money because of it.
“The traffic is really bad these days,” he complains.
“The traffic police are clearing the road but there’s still heavy traffic at several of the main junctions. Sometimes I have to use my own savings to pay the taxi owner.”
But the Myanmar Police Department says they will deploy more than 1,000 well-trained traffic police officers to help reduce traffic congestion and the number of accidents during the big event.
Most of the sporting events will be staged in the country’s new capital Naypyidaw, a six-hour drive from Yangon.
But many are worried about how Burma will accommodate all the visitors.
The country is expecting 6,000 athletes and 3,000 media personnel, plus officials and fans.
Mr. Terreace, who only gives his first name, is the manager of the Smart Hotel in Mandalay – one of the host cities.
“These days we would say enquiries and incoming tourists are a lot more than before. There’s the SEA Games and the weather is good. Last month and this month, all the rooms are fully booked. And lots of enquiries are coming too.”
But officials say there’s nothing to worry about.
U Kyaw Oo is the Secretarial Manager of the Myanmar SEA Games Organisation Committee.
“All the hotels in Nay Pyi Daw, Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwe Sang have been reserved for SEA Games fans and players from other countries. Once the Myanmar SEA Games Organisation Committee approves the application from foreign fans, we will offer them accommodation. The Ministry of Sport will make sure everything goes well.”
Burma’s sports fans will be able to get free tickets to cheer on most of the sporting events.
Burmese nationals just need to present their national registration card at the pick-up points.
It is U Kyaw Oo’s job to ensure that everyone gets the best service during the big event.
“Except for the opening and closing ceremonies, and the football games, the events will be free of charge. No country has ever done this before. In the sport’s village in Naypyidaw, there will be restaurants, spas, souvenir shops, free wi-fi spots, and live entertainment shows for the tourists, sports fans and players.”
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