Hotel expansion continues in Yangon

More hotels are on the way in Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, despite a sluggish tourism performance over the last two years due to the on-going Rohingya crisis.

Developers at the luxury end of the market appear undeterred by the drop in European tourists believing business and luxury travel segments will continue to grow.

But tour group bookings from Europe that usually fill up Yangon’s three to four-star properties during the November to March peak season are off the pace.

The latest statistics from the county’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, from January to September, 2018, indicate tourist arrivals dropped by a massive 26.15% from western Europe and by another 14% from eastern Europe.

However, Asian markets were up 10.65% and China led with a whopping 33.63% increase, which compensated in part for the loss in Europe, although travel spend from Europe was much higher.

For the nine months, up to the end of September, the country recorded 960,720 tourist arrivals, a marginal increase of 0.65% over the same period in 2017 that closed with 954,491 visits.

But sluggish tourist arrivals have not deterred hotel developers who are opening new properties that are mainly targeted at the business travel segment.

Last year, Lotte, GCP Hospitality, Pan Pacific and AccorHotels opened properties in the city.

Earlier this year, the 74-room Yangon Excelsior, a property built around the shell of the British colonial-era Steel Brothers company headquarters on Bo Sun Pat Street, Yangon, opened for business with a rate of USD148.

In December, the Rosewood Yangon, a makeover of the New Law Courts building on Strand Road dating back to 1931 will open with 206 rooms. The group has named Ed Brea as the GM. Rates have not been announced.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, owned by Hong Kong-based New World Development, will manage the property.

Rosewood Hotel Group says it will open four new properties in Asia over the next six years mainly in China and India. The group confirmed its Yangon property would open before the end of the year. Recent opening included properties in Phnom Penh Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos.

Also opening this December the 46-room Awei Metta will target the upper end of the business and leisure travel market.

Owned by Memories Group the property is located in a western suburb of Yangon adjacent to the Pun Hiang Golf Course. Rates start at USD190. The group appointed Eric Laurent as general manager.

On the Yangon horizon and due to make a debut in 2020, the 88-room Peninsula Yangon Hotel is under construction at the site of the former Burma Railways Company building located in the middle of Yangon’s central business district. It involves the restoration of the heritage building. The hotel is a joint venture between Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels and Myanmar’s Yoma Group.

Yangon is already home to three famous heritage hotels – the iconic Strand Hotel founded in 1901 and charging an hefty USD468 a night, the Belmond Governor’s Residence with an even higher rate of USD480 and the Savoy Hotel with a USD231 rate.

There are at least 189 public buildings listed as heritage sites by the Yangon City Development Committee, which are gradually being leased out to the private sector to real estate developers. That would suggest more hotels are destined to be chipped out of the stone shells of pre WWII colonial dwellings over the next few years.


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