Investors want a stake in Yangon boom

YANGON, 24 January 2014: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism says international investors are eyeing opportunities in Myanmar tourism especially in the hotel business.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director general, Aung Zaw Win, told local media that many European and Asian investors have now registered their interest in the hotel industry.

“Thailand which is already a very big investor in Myanmar tops the list followed by hotel and tourism investors from Singapore and Japan.”

Business tycoons in Myanmar, too, are also staking claims in the hotel sector, which is booming with yields climbing. Five years ago hotels could earn around US$35 to US$50 per room night, but that has now risen to around US$190 to US$220 per night.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is targeting 3 million visitors this year, but there will be shortage of rooms in Yangon, the main gateway city, for at least three to five years, while infrastructure catches up with demand.

Last year, the country welcomed 2.04 million visitors up from the slightly more than 1 million in 2012. Double digit growth is likely to continue for some time to come due to pent up travel demand after decades of sanctions and closed-door policies.

The ministry has said it will encourage visitors to stay in Mandalay and other destinations, even the capital itself Nay Pyi Daw, which has over 4,000 three to five-star hotel rooms.

However, tour operators still favour the commercial capital Yangon, although they are now prepared to book passengers on flights that arrive early in Yangon to allow them to transfer them on the same day to up-country destinations after day’s sightseeing in the city.

The other solutions is to take nonstop flights to Mandalay out of Bangkok or Singapore to avoid Yangon entirely until the end of the tour and then just for one overnight before transferring to the airport.

River cruises are another option that solves the room shortage and there are plans to tow in ships that can be quickly transformed into floating hotels.

At present, in the hotel sector, there are 36 hotels that have foreign investment. Singapore has invested nearly US$700 million in 12 hotels, Vietnam US$450 million. Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, and the United Kingdom have also invested US$1,710.439 million in hotels.

Source: TTR Weekly

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