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Published on : Thursday, July 9, 2015
The country’s tourism saw 51-percent growth to 3 million foreign arrivals last year and expects 5 million this year, an increase of about 67 percent, according to the Bangkok Post.
Htay Aung, minister for hotels and tourism, called tourism one of Myanmar’s fastest-growing industries, with the growth rate tripling since the country opened its doors to foreign investors in 2011, according to the Post. The country welcomed 1 million foreign travelers in the first four months of 2015, up 7 percent year-on-year. It aims to have 10 million foreign tourists by 2020.
Many international hotel chains are entering the country — Accor Group, Hilton, Dusit, Best Western and Royal Park recently opened hotels in Myanmar.
Kempinski opened the doors of its first property in the country, the Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw, at the end of 2014. While many first-time visitors travel to Yangon, this property is located in the country’s less-visited capital. The hotel comprises 106 rooms and 35 suites, five restaurants and bars, as well as an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, fitness center and on-site spa, according to Fodor’s.
Meliá Hotels International announced in June it was entering Myanmar with the signing of Meliá Yangon. The new-build 400-room hotel will be situated in downtown Yangon next to Inya Lake, with close access to Yangon International Airport. The project will be developed by Hoang Anh Gia Lai Myanmar, a Vietnam-based real estate company. It will be part of a mixed-use complex including office buildings, apartments and a commercial center.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide also is making a big play in Southeast Asia with the announcement of a Sheraton planned for Myanmar. The 375-room Sheraton Yangon Hotel will be owned by Family Business Group Hotel Limited.
That increase in tourism is pushing up direct foreign investment in the country’s hotel sector, and FDI has reportedly reached US$2.7 billion, according to a recent Hotel Management article.
The Myanmar government is tearing down barriers to attract more foreign direct investment, and has introduced the Myanmar Tourism Master Plan in order to spur more development and investment. It also plans to boost its food and hospitality standards.
As of May 30, there were 46,000 rooms in 1,186 hotels nationwide managed by both international and local chains, and 47 hotels that feature foreign investment.
Hotel investment is largely coming from Asia Pacific, including Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. The UK, Luxemburg and the United Arab Emirates are also players in this relatively untapped market.
Myanmar investment in the sector was a reported US$55 million in 2011 and the amount increased to US$553 million in 2014. Investment by local and foreign investors in the sector is expected to top US$3 billion in 2015.
Myanmar Tourism Federation president Khin Aung Htum said the country had positioned itself as an affordable destination, while its room rates had dropped by nearly 50 percent with the influx of new hotels.