Hotels rush to grab a piece of Myanmar market

YANGON- 300,000 visitors in 2010, one million tourists in 2012, two million last year and most probably three million in 2014. By adding a million foreign visitors, the country is in desperate need for more accommodation for visitors.

The Myanmar Investment Commission granted last year permission for about $US2 billion of investment into hotels and tourism-related projects. It is a matter of urgency as the country targets to welcome 7.5 million foreign arrivals by 2020. It has been a welcome step especially as it follows last year the complete lifting of economic sanctions imposed before by the USA and the European Union.

Myanmar has for now slightly over 9,000 hotel rooms in Yangon including 1,800 from hotel chains, according to Jones Lang LaSalle consulting firm. Due to sanctions, JLL estimates that only 17% of available rooms in the former capital city are represented by international brand chains. According to a report from the consulting cabinet released last year, the total number of hotel rooms in Yangon is due to reach 8,100 international standard rooms by 2018. Last year, close to 1,000 rooms were underconstruction while in 2014, Yangon should see the addition of another 400 rooms.

Global hotel chains are now in urgent expansion mode. Accor Asia Pacific will open in July the Novotel Yangon MAX followed by a Pullman hotel in 2015. The 300-room property will be the first of Pullman property in Myanmar. Accor will also operate the 100-room Sebel Yangon Myat Min -a premium serviced apartment. Outside the former capital city, Accor is due to open this year the 121-room Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min, located on the banks of Inle Lake as a MGallery in Nay Pyi Daw and the Novotel Mandalay Mingalar. Peninsula Hotels has secured a property to refurbish, the beautiful historical headquarters of Burmese Railways, built by the British in 1877.

Best Western opened its first property last autumn, the 189-room Green Hill Hotel. Best Western got now a contract for a property in Nay Pyi Daw. Hilton signed last year the management of a 300-room hotel property while Pan Pacific entered a joint venture to build a 25-storey 348-room property. Shangri La is one of the international companies with the biggest presence in Myanmar to-date. The group operates the Trader’s Hotel and just opened Shangri La Residences late last year. A large Shangri La property in Yangon is due to be added by 2016.

Source: Travel Daily News

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