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Myanmar (Burma) is seeing a surge of interest and has been appearing on many 2013 hot destination lists. However, it's not just young, adventurous travelers who are flocking to Burma - the destination is also of interest to older travelers. Grand Circle Corporation, a company specializing in international travel for Americans age 50 and older, has announced that more than 2,000 older Americans are expected to travel to Myanmar in 2013 with two of Grand Circle's travel brands, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and Grand Circle Cruise Line. Overseas Adventure Travel began operating in Myanmar in 2012, while Grand Circle Cruise Line's small ship cruise tour in Myanmar begins next year.
"Today, [Myanmar] is one of the hottest destinations in the world following the encouragement by [the country's] pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of foreign visitors," said Alan E. Lewis, Grand Circle Corporation's chairman and CEO. "Until recently [the destination] had been isolated to the world. Visitors today are fascinated by [Myanmar's] shimmering pagodas, 'one-legged' rowers casting their fishing nets, farmers tending their floating gardens and hill tribe members who cling to ancient ways of life. It's no surprise that demand is high; the country is full of incredible history, culture and people."
In January 2012, OAT launched Burma: Land of Golden Temples & Floating Gardens, a 15-day program that explores Rangoon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalow and Inle Lake. The small group operator anticipated that 450 Americans would travel to Myanmar on the tour; instead, 1,025 visitors came from the U.S., in small groups of 10-16 people. OAT expects 1,300 travelers in 2013 on its 15-day Myanmar adventure, which begins at $3,295 - or $220 a day - and includes free single supplements.
Due to high demand for Myanmar, OAT's sister company, Grand Circle Cruise Line, will launch a new, 34-passenger small ship cruise tour beginning in March 2013. The 15-day Burma & the Irrawaddy River: Bagan program to Mandalay begins at $3,595, or $240 a day, and explores Rangoon, Bagan, Yandabo, Mingin and Mandalay. The cruise line expects 700 passengers in 2013 and 1,200 passengers in 2014.