Hoteliers hope to get slice of expanding market in Myanmar

YANGON: Myanmar is in urgent need of more quality and affordable hotel rooms to meet its forecast of attracting over three million tourist arrivals in 2015 and 7.5 million international visitors by 2020.

By the end of 2013, it is expecting to welcome two million visitors.

By the first quarter of 2016, Sedona Hotel Yangon will be able to offer a total of about 790 rooms, making it the largest hotel in Yangon. A new 29-storey tower is being constructed.

Costing US$80 million, the hotel wants to position itself for the tourism and business growth in the city.

Ng Ooi Hooi, president of regional investments at Keppel Land, said: “This is the beginning of changes in Myanmar. There is a lot of interest from other countries both from businesses and tourism. We think that as a hotel business, this is the right time to go in. It will give us some time to build up the hotel and also develop it with the intention of the government to improve the hospitality and the tourism sector.”

Keppel Land said it is also studying opportunities to develop commercial and residential properties in Yangon.

It will consider converting some of the new rooms to cater to long-stay visitors.

Other hotel chains are also looking to tap this booming market.

Novotel Hotel is entering Yangon, offering 366 rooms and with a scheduled completion by the end of this year.

Hilton is also introducing its brand name into Myanmar with a 300-room, 21-storey hotel set to open next year.

Such five-star accommodation will add to the much-needed international-quality supply of hotel rooms, especially in Yangon.

But Tony Picon, managing director at Colliers International Myanmar, said: “I still think that the number of rooms is still not going to match demand. But I think the one issue that I have is probably the pricing. I do think that a lot of business people are less likely to stay in the upper-scale category because the pricing is very high. I think there might be some adjustment to keep their occupancy rates.”

In the meantime, large hotels still have an advantage as they are the preferred venues for big-time conferences as well as exhibitions. With at least one international conference being held in Yangon almost every week, organisers prefer to host an event as well as house all their participants in one location.

Source: Channel News Asia

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