U Thein Tun picks Bagan as first hotel destination

MYANMAR businessman U Thein Tun extended his hospitality business portfolio to Bagan on September 21. The new hotel under the brand Bagan Star already has 81 rooms up and running. (U Thein Tun also owns Myanmar Consolidated Media, which publishes The Myanmar Times.)

“Bagan is very attractive, with a great potential for the tourism industry in Myanmar because it is the most interesting tour site for tourists. That is why I chose to establish the first hotel in Bagan. I also wish [to facilitate] local development [development of local community],” U Thein Tun told The Myanmar Times at the hotel open ceremony in Bagan on September 21.

Unfortunately, the initial project with 25 hotels on board was put on hold since 2014 due to the archaeology department’s decision to assess the impact of hotels on ancient heritage.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture authorised these 25 hoteliers to go ahead with the construction.

“We have been waiting for almost three years for that. Finally, the government allowed all 25 pending hotels to move on with the construction. I’m glad about that,” U Thein Tun said.

The Tun group, which he chairs, owns several major businesses in the country, such as Pepsi, Carlsberg beer, Tun Commercial Banking, microfinance and airlines, real estate projects, as well as Myanmar Consolidated Media (which publishes this newspaper). The hospitality industry has joined the long list of areas covered by the group.

They plan to open two more hotels in Inle Lake, southern Shan state and Yangon as part of the Bagan Star hotel chain.

“We are planning to develop a new hotel with over 50 bungalow rooms in Inle Lake and a new property [project] by combining service apartments and hotels, with more than 200 rooms, in Yangon,” explained U Thein Tun.

“The hotel in Inle Lake will not be [involve] much investment but the property in Yangon will require US$18 million of investment,” he added.

Even though the hospitality and tourism sector is not developing robustly as expected, the sector presents a big market in the long run. The number of international tourist arrivals in Thailand is 34 million, Malaysia is 29 million, Singapore is 16 million and Cambodia is 6 million, but Myanmar is only about 3 million last year, he commented.

“It means that Myanmar can develop as much in the hotel and tourism industry which bears great promises for the future. That is why I developed a hotel business, aiming to flourish in the coming five or ten years,” U Thein Tun noted. He aimed to rent out 60 percent of the rooms of the new Bagan Star hotel.

Source: Myanmar Times