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MMRD BULLETIN
January 22, 2020

NEWS
HOTEL & TOURISM

Myanmar govt mulls one island, one hotel rule in Myeik

Image result for One hotel rule in MyeikThe Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said there is an ongoing discussion among relevant offices on imposing a one hotel, one island rule in Myeik Archipelago in Tanintharyi Region.

Policy is not set yet. It is still in the process. Feasibility has been submitted to the higher authority. A meeting will be called back if necessary.The Myeik Archipelago is a famous destination for foreign investments and there are many applications to build resorts on the islands.At present, in addition to natural resource discovery, conservation and security issues, there are difficulties in on-ground situations to allow one hotel on big islands.The costs are still high for visitors to get to Myeik Archipelago and the area still needs more boats, accommodations and other basic infrastructure.

Currently, the government permitted 10 companies to operate in 13 islands in Tanintharyi and there are hotel developments as well. Myeik Archipelago is famous among tourists for being among the virgin destinations and attracted interest from foreign visitors, most of whom sail in yachts from neighbouring Thailand. Among the more famous destinations in Myeik are the Trident Island, Tayel Island, Kyat Mauk Island, Lan Pi Island, Nyauk Oo Phi Island, Cave Done Island and Bo Cho Island.

Source: Myanmar Times

Yangon Region plans second tourism village

Image result for War Thin Kha Village kawhmuThe Yangon Region government plans to open a second community-based tourism village that would give local and foreign visitors a glimpse of village life, regional tourism officials said. Daw Naw Pan Thinzar Myo, Yangon Region Tourism minister, said they are looking at War Thin Kha village in Kawhmu township as the second community-based tourism area after Kyaikthale village in Twante township was opened two years ago.

“A survey has been completed for Kawhmu to become a new community-based tourism destination,” she said. “We will consult with the villagers about the programme.”Visitors to War Thin Kha village, which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Kayin, can see the villagers’ lifestyle and livelihoods, and go fishing or trekking.The regional government will provide training to villagers to prepare them to host foreigners.

This year the region issued 32 hotel permits, 20 hotel construction permits, and 14 guesthouse construction permits. Once completed, the projects will add 2600 rooms for visitors.According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, over 1.5 million tourists visited Myanmar between January and October this year, an increase of 430,000 over the same period of last year.

Source: Myanmar Times

Myanmar eases visa rules for five countries

Related imageThe government will relax its visa regulations for five more countries from January 1 as part of its effort to attract more foreign visitors to the country, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Travelers from the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Hungary and Austria will be given visas on arrival upon entering the country for the next three years.

The easing of visa regulations is aimed at reviving the tourism industry, which has been affected by international outrage over the humanitarian crisis in northern Rakhine State.Only about 2000 tourists came from New Zealand and Austria from as of October this year, and the number from New Zealand actually declined by 9pc compared to the same period of last year.In October, Myanmar extended its visa-on-arrival programme to Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Australia.Myanmar has waived visa requirements for visitors from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macao and granted visas-on-arrival to Chinese travellers who arrive by air.

Myanmar now grants visas-on-arrival to over 50 countries at its international airports in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, and allows foreign visitors a 28-day stay.Tour operators said visitors from Western countries stay an average of 14 days and spend a lot.As of October, over 1.5 million tourists had visited Myanmar this year, 430,000 more than in the same period last year.

Source: Myanmar Times

Government readies Bagan’s airport for international flights

Image result for baganThe government is preparing Bagan’s Nyaung-U airport to handle international flights, as the authorities hope to welcome tourists from Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said.Facilities at the airport are being improved, including the runway, to handle foreign visitors on foreign charter planes, the ministry said.

Entries and exits, and toilets will be upgraded to international standards, while X-ray machines are being installed to enable customs, immigration and quarantine to handle international charter flights, said the ministry.Negotiations have been made for direct charter flights between Bagan and Siem Reap, with Vice President U Henry Van Thio leading the Myanmar team as chair of the National Tourism Development Central Committee.

The Bagan-Siem Reap flight is likely to be a part of a Northern Buddhism Package tour that links ASEAN countries.In November 2017, Myanmar and Cambodia signed an agreement to promote travel by granting visitors visas on arrival.On average, three million tourists visit Angkor Wat and some 300,000 visitors come to Bagan every year.Tourism executives expect more visitors to come to Bagan if there is a direct flight between the two countries.Dubai-based Emirates Airline began a Yangon-Phnom Penh flight in 2017 but discontinued it last year due to low traffic.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

Tanintharyi offers good potential for investors: officials

Image result for tanintharyi point of viewThe Tanintharyi Region government is focusing on promoting investment in hotels and tourism, agriculture and livestock, fisheries, power, mining, and real estate to help boost its economy.This was revealed during the Region Investment Forum on December 7. The event organised by the region’s government and the Myanmar Investment Commission comes on the heels of similar events held in Kachin and Mon over the last several weeks. Tanintharyi located in the south of Myanmar bordering the Andaman Sea to the west and Thailand, to the east is famous for the many islands off its coast.

U Myint Maung said highlighted ecotourism as a sector with strong potential for growth in Tanintharyi. He added that the region also has many opportunities to produce value-added products for the world’s markets and could serve as a gateway to the Greater Mekong sub-region due to its strategic location in the Southern Economic Corridor that encompasses Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.The Dawei Special Economic Zone in Tanintharyi will become one of the contributors to enhancing regional coastal development. The hotels and tourism sector is ripe for development and several parties spoke with government officials about investing in the sector.

The Myeik Archipelago (also known as the Mergui Archipelago) in the Andaman Sea is a famous destination and has the potential for further development.The government of Myanmar has made many significant and positive changes in the country’s investment landscape. The reforms have resulted in the country climbing in theWorld Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking to 165th from 171st previously, making it one of the 20 most improved in the report.The regional government is focusing on attracting investors with tax incentives and investment facilitation. The Tanintharyi government says among the strong points of the region for investors are its good infrastructure and roads, tax exemptions of five and seven years for investments in the Dawei SEZ and Dawei Deep Sea Port.

Source: Myanmar Times

Local company proposes eco beach resort project in Gwa, Rakhine

Image result for gwa rakhine state Local company Sea Lion Group has announced its intention to build an eco-resort at a site located along Ma Kyay Ngu Beach, near Gwa Township, Rakhine State.The company is proposing to build a hotel, shopping centre, and organic farm on a 20 hectare site across the Gwa River from Gwa Township.The project, which will be the first of its kind in Gwa, will include swimming pools, an 80-room hotel, arrival jetty, and areas specifically for shallow swimming, water sports, and children.Upon receiving approval for the project, construction will begin in phases.

U Aung Kyaw Zan, Rakhine State Minister for Electricity, Industry and Transportation, said: “It is good if this project comes to fruition. It will help the tourism sector develop and also create job opportunities for the locals.The region has a beautiful natural environment and beach areas suitable for tourism-based businesses.The resort will also be built near Gwa Bridge, which is currently under construction. The 1300-foot long bridge is expected to link Rakhine to Ayeyarwady region when complete next year.

“After the bridge is finished, more hotels may emerge to the benefit of the region’s development,” said U Aung Kyaw Zan.The government is also developing a project dubbed The Orbit along Nga Thine Chaung-Gwa Beach. The Orbit, which spans from Nga Yote Kaung in Ayeyarwaddy Region to Gwa in Rakhine State, is being developed with government support.For a total investment of K300 billion, the project will bring coastal development, tourism opportunities and access to electricity to the region, it will also enable agriculture products from Ayeyarwady to reach Rakhine and be exported via Sittwe Port and Maungdaw Trade Zone.

Source: Myanmar Times

Thai Investors Look to Bring Mass Tourism to Myanmar’s Myeik Archipelago

Image result for myeik archipelago myanmarYangon – Business owners from Thailand have expressed interest to invest in tourism in Kawthaung and the Myeik archipelago, in Tanintharyi Region in southern Myanmar, according to Director-General U Thant Sin Lwin of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

A Thai businessman has held talks with DICA and enquired about the potential for operating tours to the Myeik archipelago by plane.“The businessman has asked about how many islands, hotels and hospitals there are and what planes could land,” said U Thant Sin Lwin.The investment would be sizable with proposals to welcome cruise ships and seaplanes across Tanintharyi Region, he added.Myeik is becoming increasingly popular among domestic visitors and is tipped by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism as the next major tourist attraction.

The archipelago attracted more than 45,000 visitors in 2018 with the ministry expecting numbers to grow for this year.“Domestic firms can’t operate tour packages that require heavy investment. It is good that Thai businesses will fly to the islands. But it would be better if Myanmar’s businesses could do it,” U Thet Khaing, managing director of MT & K Tourism Co, told The Irrawaddy.

He, however, said he welcomed foreign investment because technological improvements were needed.“But one potential problem is that those islands were sold to individuals under previous governments. So new investors will have to negotiate with the owners for partnerships. This will be a challenge,” said U Thet Khaing.DICA said Tanintharyi Region had only received 3.3 billion kyats (US$2.2 million) in foreign investment in saltwater-prawn production since 2017.

Source: The Irrawaddy 

Bank to provide tourism-association members no-collateral loans

Image result for tourism in myanmarMyanma Tourism Bank (MTB) has announced that it will begin providing Union of Myanmar Travel Association members, who are primarily travel and tour companies, uncollateralised SMEs loans beginning this month. Loans will be released within two weeks to a month  if the applicants have provided the necessary documents for their application.

While the loans are being initially offered to UMTA members, MTB will later on open them up to other tourism-sector businesses. The interest rate for the uncollateralised loans is set at 13 percent a year and applicants are also required to take up credit guarantee insurance (CGI) from Myanmar Insurance. The maximum amount for the loans is set at K20 million for applicants who show viable plan for the use of the funds.

According to Ministry of Hotels and Tourism statistics, there are roughly more than 2500 travel and tour companies in the country, but the majority are categorised as small and medium-sized enterprises. Meanwhile, UMTA has around 1000 members. MTB was one of five sector-specific banks granted a banking licence by the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) in 2017.

Source: Myanmar Times 

Marriott International signs agreement with Yoma Land

The Landmark Yangon Myanmar mixed use developmentMarriott International Inc has announced the signing of a landmark agreement with Myanmar’s leading property developer, Yoma Land, to bring the Westin brand to Myanmar in late 2021, according to a statement. Currently, Westin has more than 220 hotels in nearly 40 countries and territories. Westin Hotels & Resorts is widely renowned as hospitality’s global leader in wellness for more than a decade.

Under the agreement, the new-build Westin Yangon will feature 281 rooms and suites alongside 90 premium serviced apartments with spectacular views overlooking downtown Yangon and the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. The 26-story hotel is being planned as a part of the Yoma Central integrated real estate development which has been designed by acclaimed architect Cecil Balmond OBE.

Upon completion in 2021, Yoma Central expects to be anchored by the restored former headquarters of the Burma Railway Company, one of Yangon’s oldest and most cherished colonial-era buildings. Yoma Central plans to also feature two Grade A office towers and a collection of luxury private homes, all of which will be connected seamlessly by a retail podium.

Source: Mizzima

Myanmar lowest among ASEAN countries in passport index

Image result for latest Henley Passport IndexMyanmar ranks 95th out of 107, the lowest among ASEAN nations, in the latest Henley Passport Index, mainly due to a lack of economic freedom. The index is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association and scored based on visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to other countries.

Japan and Singapore hold first place on the index, with a score of 190 out of a maximum 227. Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in 2nd place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are placed third. Among ASEAN countries Malaysia is ranked 12th place with a score of 177 and followed by Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Myanmar, in 95th place globally, remains the poorest performer in the region. In 2014, Myanmar’s rank was 86 with visa-free access to 42 countries. Although official scores for 10 years ago are not available for Myanmar, it is estimated that the country had visa-free access to around 30 countries only. Myanmar now enjoys visa-free access to 46 countries.

Utilising historic data from the Henley Passport Index and the Index of Economic Freedom, political science researchers discovered a strongly positive correlation between visa freedom and a variety of indicators of economic freedom, including FDI inflows, property rights, tax burden, and investment freedom. For most of the index’s 14-year history, a European country or the US has been ranked at the top but this shifted dramatically in 2018, with Asian nations climbing up in the ranking.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

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