Published on : Friday, January 5, 2018
The hot-air balloon over Myanmar’s historic Bagan plains which is punctuated with more than 2200 ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas and monasteries has attracted thousands of tourists from all across the globe.
Memories Group, one of the companies which fly these inflatables will start trading under the MEGL ticker on the Singapore stock exchange on Friday (Jan 5). Presently, the company, which is the largest operator of balloons in the area, is a 47.6 per cent-owned unit of Burmese conglomerate Yoma Strategic Holdings, which spun off its Myanmar tourism assets via a reverse takeover of SHC Capital Asia.
The company heads have now realised that it is important to have an independent and dedicated platform to develop the tourism business in the area. At US$450 (S$597) a person, a hot-air balloon ride is worth about a third of Myanmar’s gross domestic product per capita in 2016. According to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the international tourist spending in the country is estimated to reach US$5.2 billion in 2027 which is more than double the US$2.3 billion spent in 2016.
The company is primarily known for its hot air balloons flights in Bagan and Inle Lake regions, and its red coloured balloons are among Myanmar’s most iconic tourist attractions. Michel Novatin, chief executive officer of Memories Group said that they are delighted to be listed on the SGX-ST which will allow to attract good and reputable partners and investors.
Unfortunately, the country has been in the headlines for its “ethnic cleansing” by the US and the United Nations – better known as the Rohingya refugee crisis and has been threatening to curb the growth of the tourism industry.
Memories Group is targeting high-end tourists with hotels and services and intends to acquire more tourism-related businesses with the proceeds of its placement.