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MMRD BULLETIN
June 18, 2019

NEWS
HOTEL & TOURISM

Air KBZ to resume Myeik, Sittwe flights

Image result for air kbzAir KBZ will resume flights to Myeik and Sittwe from May 1 onwards.

The airline had suspended flights to Myeik for three years and to Sittwe for one. It will now resume flights on these routes on the back of higher demand.

Domestic tour operators confirmed that the number of local visitors to Mergui Archipelago and Rakhine has increased over the recent summer vacation months.

“Of late, demand for flights to these two destinations has increased. There are a lot more local and foreign tourists wanting to visit the Myeik islands in particular so we have reopened flights to meet market demand,” a spokesperson from Air KBZ said.

Flights to Myeik from Yangon will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and on weekends, while flights to Sittwe from Yangon will run daily, the airline said.

To leverage on higher demand over the summer months from March to May, Air KBZ last month also announced discounted fares of up to 20 percent for local travelers to Heho, Nyaung-U, Myitkyina, Loikaw, Nay Pyi Taw and Dawei, and Nyaung-U based flights to Heho, Mandalay, Thandwe, Dawei and Kawthaung.

During the rainy season, some airlines also operate flights in partnership with others to draw more passengers and air ticket prices are sometimes also reduced to encourage air travel.

Source: Myanmar Times

Myanmar outbound tourism rising year-on-year

Myanmar’s outbound tourism has continued to thrive year over year.
Some Myanmar holidaymakers are going for self-planned trips, while some are opting for guided overseas trips offered by tour agencies.
According to tour operators, Myanmar people are mostly travelling to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bodh Gaya, India, Nepal, China, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Jordan, South Korea, the US, and Europe.
“The most popular destinations are Bangkok, Singapore, Bodh Gaya, India, and Nepal. Some people are also vacationing in South Korea, China, and Hong Kong. Most people are visiting countries which grant visa-exemptions to tourists carrying normal passports. Some are opting for countries that have easy visa requirements. Western countries, especially in Europe and the US, have become popular destinations for Myanmar travelers,” said U Thet Lwin Toe, the chair of the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association.
“A small number of airlines are operating from Myanmar. There are only two or three flights to Europe. Similarly, there are two flights to Korea.

According to data from the Hotels and Tourism Department under the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar had 2,712 tour companies as on December, 2018, of which 553 held outbound tour licences. The department does not have details of outbound travelers, but efforts are on to collaborate with other departments to compile data.

“At present, outbound tourism is booming in Myanmar. Tourist arrivals are also growing year over year. Tourist arrivals stood at 3.44 million in 2017 and 3.55 million in 2018. The arrival rate increased by 3.15 per cent in 2018 compared with 2017,” said Vice President U Henry Van Thio, who is also the chair of the National Tourism Development Central Committee, at a meeting held in Hotel Max, Nay Pyi Taw, on 26 February.

Myanmar has adopted a Look East policy, granting visa exemptions to tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau, to attract more Asian travelers and boost the tourism industry. Travelers from China and India, holding normal passports, can also get visa-on-arrival at Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw international airports.

Source: Myanmar Times

First hotel in Thilawa opens, caters for business visitors

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Four years after Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was launched, the industrial hub welcomes the first hotel.

Super Hotel Myanmar Thilawa started serving visitors last month, a representative of the hotel told The Myanmar Times.

The four-storey project, involving US$13.5 million (1.5 billion yen) investment, is part of the Osaka-based Super Hotel chain, which already operates one lodging in Mayangone township. The new 129-bedroom hotel based in Thanlyin-Kyauktan townships includes two restaurants, a jacuzzi and hot spring bath, a fitness centre, an outdoor garden, airport shuttle, free parking and free Wifi in all areas within the vicinity. There is also a convenience store on site. Daily rates start from $110 per night.

Thilawa SEZ is a Japan-led public-private partnership – the Myanmar and Japanese governments each has a 10 percent stake while a consortium of nine local companies – the Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings (MTSH) – controls 41pc stake and a Japanese private consortium owns the remaining 39pc. To date, it is the only SEZ in operation in the country.

This is the first hospitality project in Thilawa which is set to cater for visitors. Until now, business travellers to the SEZ often stay in Star City, a satellite real estate area near Thanlyin River. Developed by Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic, the mixed-use project consists of six blocks of apartments totalling 900 units, and includes facilities such as a supermarket, cafes and restaurants, golf course, a swimming pool, a clinic and gym. Overall, it covers 197.5 hectares and is among the largest in Yangon Region.

A lot of factory managers based in the SEZ live in Star City owing to its proximity.

Right beside Star City is the six-building Galaxy Towers complex, with 1038 residential units. In addition, affordable housing projects in the area are expected to be available for sale later this year.

Road connectivity between downtown Yangon and the Thanlyin-Thilawa area is beset by limited capacity of the one-lane Thanlyin Bridge. Traffic is expected to ease in a few years with a new bridge across Bago River, which is financed by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A jetty is also planned in Thanlyin.

Source: Myanmar Times

Chinese firm seeks to build a theatre in Bagan

A Chinese company is interested in building a theater in the Bagan heritage zone in Mandalay Region, according to the Department of Archaeology and National Museum in Bagan.

Officials of the Yunnan Culture Industry Investment Holding Co visited Bagan in late March to discuss constructing and opening a theatre. Their objective is to cooperate with resident artists, including ethnic people, to enhance the culture and heritage of Bagan, said U Aung Aung Kyaw, director of the department.

The company, which is run by the Chinese government, is the largest tourism operator in China. It already operates a theatre in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and other cultural cooperation programmes, which have entertained about two million people from over 50 countries in nine years, according to the department.

The company discussed ways to boost tourism in Bagan, the rules and regulations of tourism in Myanmar, and full compliance with the country’s laws.

The country’s tourism can be improved with better accommodations and catering services though the cooperation of local people without affecting the cultural heritage of the region, according to a statement released by the department.

Source: Myanmar Times

Myanmar, China raise efforts to develop tourism industries

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Myanmar and China are taking big steps to develop each other’s tourism industries. 

China Eastern Airlines yesterday launched Hohhot – Kunming – Yangon flights and will deploy a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a seat capacity of 184 for the new service.This will operate from Yangon International Airport three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting April 2.

China is raising efforts to draw Myanmar visitors to the Mainland. Last week, Myanmar tourists were invited to visit Zhangjiajie, China by Ding Yun Lai, governor of Wulingyuan district during his visit to Yangon.

Zhangjiajie is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of China’s Hunan province, is home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It is an UNESCO cultural heritage site and where the film Aviator starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Cate Blanchett was shot.

About eight million tourists from 30 countries visit Zhangjiajie every year.

“We take the Myanmar tourism market seriously as Myanmar is a promising country. So, for the convenience of travelers, we will try at the earliest to connect both cities with a direct flight,” Mr Ding said.

China is raising efforts to woo Myanmar travelers after the country relaxed visa requirements for incoming Japanese, Koreans and Chinese tourists in September last year.

After visa exemptions were granted in late 2018, China has increased the number of flights to Myanmar and tourism between the two countries has expanded.

As tourists from both Myanmar and China usually travel in groups , more cooperation is needed to develop a systematic and organised industry catering to the needs of the tourists, said U Kyaw Win, a member of the Myanmar-China Tourism Marketing Team.

“Now that the tourist industries of both countries are taking off, there should be an agreement between both sides to make traveling more convenient. It is good for the long run,” he said.

Myanmar travelers typically visit Shweli, Kunming, Shanghai and Chengdu. Now, Myanmar nationals will be able to visit Zhangjiajie with an arrival visa, said a responsible person of Hunan Oversea Travel Zhangjiajie Company.

Yesterday, the Central Bank of Myanmar also allowed a three-month pilot project to test digital payments using the WeChat application in 14 shops at Mandalay Airport and specified shops in Mandalay city.

This came after local firm Paypb in partnership with Hong Kong-based QFPay applied to the Central Bank to allow payments using the WeChat application. The aim is to make payments more convenient for Chinese travelers to Myanmar.

WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011, and by 2018 was one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps by monthly active users, with over 1 billion monthly active users and 902 million daily active users, according to reports.

Myanmar played host to more than 3.5 million tourists in 2018, of which 40percent were Chinese, according to the Myanmar-China Marketing Committee.

Source: Myanmar Times

Bus tickets for Thingyan to go on sale Friday

Bus tickets for the Thingyan holidays will go on sale on Friday, U Win Swe, chair of the Nay Pyi Taw All Bus Lines Control Committee, said on Tuesday.

“We will sell tickets for Thingyan on April 5. We have also made sure that bus ticket prices will not be high,” he said. Every Thingyan, people want to go back to their home towns, so the committee will make sure that tour companies do not raise their prices, he added.

The committee has asked each ministry for a list of civil servants who want to travel during Thingyan, through the Nay Pyi Taw Council. “We asked for the lists by April 5 so that we can get them tickets by April 7,” U Win Swe said.

Workers who want to go back to their home towns from Nay Pyi Taw during Thingyan will be able to get tickets without difficulty. Also, tour buses will be allowed to travel only after they have been checked. “We’ve negotiated with a joint committee to check the vehicles and educate the drivers,” he said. The buses will be checked at Taung Nyo gate and Si Lan Sone on April 12.

The joint committee includes members of the Road Transport Administration Department, License and Transport Supervisory Department, traffic police, local police, fire brigade, and All Bus Lines Control Committee.

Tour buses run daily from Nay Pyi Taw to more than 50 cities, including Yangon and Mandalay, and there will be enough buses and passenger seats to accommodate the number of travellers during Thingyan, U Win Swe said, adding, “No need to worry about that. We have also prepared extra vehicles.”

Source: Myanmar Times

Chatrium Royal Lake Yangon on the right track

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Though Myanmar is yet to attract a flock of tourists owing to the ongoing international pressure on conflicts in Rakhine State on its western coast, Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon, one of the leading 5-star properties in the nation, maintains its confidence to enjoy a healthier growth and better performance from this year on, according to general manager May Myat Mon Win.

She said in an exclusive interview that the hotel enjoys 5 to 8 increase in gross operation profit on a yearly basis, and hopes to sustain its healthy growth in the next few years.

“Tourism is gradually recovering here, and the market is gaining back into better performance. We are also doing a great job and looking at further investment opportunities here,” she said.

“When it comes to business performance, financial profit is not the only thing we take into consideration. There are some other factors that really matter to us_ our reputation, our customers and the growth of human capital, to name a few.”

The executive seems happy with the occupancy rate of the hotel. On average, more than 80 per cent of 300 hotel rooms are occupied in the high season (November to February), and the hotel enjoys over 60 per cent occupancy even in the low season (July to September). Around 70 per cent of the hotel guests are business travellers while the remainder visits Myanmar for leisure, she said.

“We are always trying to provide the best customer experience as far as possible so we have our guests in mind at every touchpoint,” she said.

In this respect, the hotel has trained the majority of its employees to become local experts, as around 98 per cent of the guests are foreigners. Currently, it has 335 employees, and only 4 per cent of them are expatriates. With a good mix gender in its team, the hotel ensures domination of locals in its management, as two of the four Board members as well as seven of the twelve senior executives are locals.

“For a company to grow further, it is a must for the employee to grow as well so we always try to improve the empowerment of our team. We allow the frontline staff to make their own decision when they happen to face some issues so we can quickly provide the best customer service,” she said.

In addition to improving the employees’ employment and responsibility, the hotel reviews customer experience journey through several online and offline surveys. The hotel also keeps an eye on six major competitors’ moves to ensure its leadership position in the market.

“We have found out through our studies that 96 per cent of our guests are totally happy with our services. We aim to improve it to 98 per cent by the end of this year,” she said.

 Source: Daily Eleven

New Kandawgyi aquarium to open in Oct

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New Kandawgyi Aquarium will be opened in October, according to Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

There will be galleries that explain about fishes. In some displays, children can touch and play with live fishes.

The international standard aquarium is expected to open in October this year.

Director Thein Zaw from Myanmar Aquarium Company Limited said, “We are keeping fish from the old aquarium. An international standard underground tunnel will be included for the visitors to feel like they are wandering under water.”

Myanmar Aquarium Company Limited is building the new aquarium as per approval by the Yangon Region government.

It was designed by Surbana Jurong from Singapore and Yangon Region Fishery Department. They signed a long leasing agreement with the Myanmar Aquarium Company Limited to build the aquarium.

It was developed on five acres of land and while the former aquarium only exhibited freshwater fish, the new aquarium will display both saltwater and freshwater fish.

Domestic fish species including fish from Maykha and Malikha rivers, Rakhine coast and Ayeyawady River will be displayed and freshwater fish will be imported from overseas. The building is two and a half stories steel structure building and over 20 exhibitions will be displayed.

Thousands of fish species will be displayed in freshwater fish exhibitions and tens of thousands of saltwater fish species will be displayed.

Source: Daily Eleven

Hilton & Resorts to open Hilton Times City Yangon

Image result for Hilton & Resorts to open Hilton Times City Yangon

Hilton announced the signing of a management agreement with Myanmar partners Crown Advanced Construction Co. Ltd to operate a 308-key hotel near downtown Yangon, Myanmar. Hilton Times City Yangon marks the company’s continual expansion in Myanmar and will be its first hotel in the Myanmar city when it opens in 2022.

The hotel is strategically located between Yangon International Airport and the central business district: a short 20-minute drive from the airport and 15-minute drive from downtown Yangon. Part of a mixed-use development, the hotel will comprise suites and a serviced apartment and sit alongside an office tower, high-end residential and a retail mall.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

Kantharyar Centre & Wyndham Grand Yangon Hotel opens in Yangon

In January 2019, the opening ceremony of the international standard 5A class, Wyndham Grand Yangon Hotel and Kantharyar Center was successfully held with the participation of the Chief Minister, U PHYO MIN THEIN, Yangon Mayor and Chair of the City Development Committee, U MAUNG MAUNG SOE and other officials.

Kantharyar Center includes a “Grade A” office tower, the Wyndham Grand Hotel, serviced apartments, a shopping center, residential units and 600 parking lots. It was developed by a consortium comprising Shining Star International Holding Co, Asia Myanmar Shining Star Investment Co and Asia Myanmar Consortium Development Co.

The 22- storey Kantharyar Office Tower, which comprises 168 international Grade A commercial office units, is the first 5A class office tower to be built in Myanmar.

 

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