Hotels, restaurants in Myanmar suffer as pandemic lingers

About 60 percent of hotels in the country have reopened but business remains sluggish as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers and restrictions continue on the entry
of foreigners until the end of the month.
The same is true for restaurants, which have all reopened since May. Their earnings have dropped as much as 50 percent from pre-pandemic levels, as people remain wary of visiting public places.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said 1200, or 60 percent, of hotels and motels in the country have reopened, and over 810 others have passed inspection and been permitted to reopen.

About 400 hotels remained open during the COVID-19 restrictions and served as quarantine facilities for locals returning from abroad or foreigners here on business.
Most of the hotels that reopened were in Yangon, Mandalay, and Shan State.
An official of the Myanmar Hotel Entrepreneurs Association said, “Some hotels do not have enough customers and fear they may lose money, so they remain closed.”

To boost their business, some hotels have linked up with passenger bus operators to steer customers their way.
Things do not look any better for restaurants, which have suffered a 50pc drop in revenue, according to the Myanmar Restaurant Association.
U Nay Lin, chair of the association, said that restaurants are operating with only 70pc of their workers due to the slump.
“Sales hardly cover expenses and operating costs,” he said. “Most shops are only making 50pc of their former revenue.”
U Thingyan Kyaw, chair of the association’s Mandalay chapter, said that since foreigners stopped coming to Myanmar, sales have fallen by nearly half at restaurants in Mandalay, and they can barely cover their operating costs.
Restaurants are offering food deliveries online to boost their sales, he added.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has introduced a COVID-19 Tourism Relief Plan, including low-interest loans, to help troubled tourism operators recover from the pandemic.
The plan includes health and safety guidelines for visitors, tours at special discounted rates, COVID-19-free destinations, and digital payment options for travellers.Myanmar will also promote tourism in foreign markets from next month to January 2021.
Visitors to Myanmar dropped 44 percent from January to April. In 2019, foreign arrivals grew 23pc to 4.36 million, up from 3.55 million the previous year, mainly due to so-called zero-budget tours from China. Chinese nationals accounted for nearly a third of tourists last year, a 152pc increase from the previous year, according to the government.
Tourism accounted for 6.6pc of the country’s gross domestic product, earned US$4.9 billion dollars in 2017, and employed 1.4 million people.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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