French hotel group Accor is set to expand its Myanmar presence with three budget properties, following its return to the country in 2013.
The group will manage two properties in Yangon and one in Bagan under its Ibis brand, according to Accor’s local partner, property developer U Thant Zin Tun, a key member of Myanmar Golden Star group of companies, founded by his father U Thein Tun.
A spokesperson for Accor declined to comment as the deal has not yet been finalised. It would be the company’s third major deal in Myanmar in the past 18 months.
The Ibis properties will be located on Inya and Kabar Aye Pagoda roads, according to U Thant Zin Tun. Both are awaiting final approval from Yangon City Development Committee before construction can begin. The Kabar Aye property will likely have 99 rooms, while the Inya Road location will have about 120, he said.
U Thant Zin Tun, who is also a member of the board of Myanmar Consolidated Media, which publishes The Myanmar Times, said he hopes to have these two hotels open by the end of 2015.
They will provide options for travellers looking for mid-range options in Yangon, which has to date been a neglected segment of the market, with foreign investment mostly concentrated at the high end.
“These [hotels] are very simple. Not five-star or four-star hotels. They will be economical with a reasonable price,” he said.
Land has also been acquired for a third 150-room HOTEL IN Bagan but more time will be needed to secure permission to build because of heritage protections in the area.
Ibis is Accor’s economy brand and had properties in 59 countries as of 2013, including in neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia.
U Thant Zin Tun said that he plans to open 3000 HOTEL ROOMS in Myanmar over the next five years through foreign hotel ventures on the back of strong growth in the tourism industry.
“Myanmar does not have a lot of tourists yet, but one day … a lot of tourists will come for sure,” he told The Myanmar Times in an exclusive interview.
Foreign arrivals are up 40 percent this year, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, and Myanmar is on pace to see 3 million total visitors in 2014, up from 2.4 million in 2013. It is targeting 5 million visitors by 2015.
Accor has worked previously with U Thant Zin Tun in Mandalay when it managed a hotel under its Novotel brand from 1993. The hotel was built by LP Holding, of which U Thant Zin Tun is a partner and director.
Accor also added two HOTELS IN Yangon but departed in 2002 due to the deteriorating political and economic climate.
LP Holding also constructed the Centrepoint Tower in Yangon, which was slated to house a hotel from Accor’s Sofitel brand but the project never materialised.
In March 2013, Hilton announced that it would manage the 300-room Centrepoint Tower hotel but the project has missed several estimated opening dates.
The three Ibis hotels would bring Accor’s Myanmar portfolio to nine hotels since the company re-established a presence in Myanmar in February 2013.
Accor first partnered with Max Myanmar Group, owned by tycoon U Zaw Zaw, to develop Novotel Yangon Max, along with HOTELS IN Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.
Source: MYANMAR TIMES
To learn about: