The Shwedagon Pagoda Trustee received over 1 billion kyat from foreign tourists as entry fees to Yangon’s iconic pagoda during the two months of March and April this year.
Over 76,000 foreign visitors visited the pagoda in March 2019 and the pagoda received over 700 million kyats as entry fees and over 51,000 foreigners visited the pagoda and over 500 million kyats was collected from them in April 2019.
Previously entry fee of 8,000 kyats was collected from each foreign visitor and then the Shwedagon pagoda trustee raised this fee to 10,000 kyats per head starting from 2017.
The Shwedagon pagoda trustee issued a statement which says an average of 2,400 foreign visitors visited the pagoda daily in March and average over 1,700 foreign visitors visited the pagoda daily in April so that the pagoda received approximately 100-200 million kyat daily from these foreigners.
Moreover the pagoda received donations of US$11,535 in March and US$5,514 in April from them.
The Shwedagon pagoda trustee said in a reply to a question that daily receipts were deposited at Myanmar Economic Bank immediately the next day.
Union Minister Thura Aung Ko said that the banks could not pay interest for this huge sum of deposits so that the trustee had to buy government treasury bonds instead.
A spokesperson for the trustees said that the pagoda had cash assets of over 78,000 (78,961) million kyats and foreign exchange of US$15.9 million besides donations and other receipts.
Moreover the pagoda had bank deposits of 2,673 million kyats in current accounts, 64,490 million kyats in saving accounts, 8,528 million kyats in treasury bonds, 3,000 million kyats in fixed deposit totaling 78,691 million kyats and US$ 15.9 million in foreign exchange.
Thai nationals are the major foreign visitors who came to Shwedagon pagoda. The other nationals include those from South Korea, Japan, Germany, Chile, Canada, Sweden, Cambodia, Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.