According to the Ministry of Tourism, tourism in Myanmar has been booming in recent years, with 4.6 million foreign arrivals into Myanmar in 2015, up from 3.1 million in 2014 and 2 million in 2013. Tourism is a huge growth market for Myanmar. The investment amount in tourism sector was US$2.7 billion in 2015, with at least 47 hotels currently receiving foreign investment. Up to now, the hotel chains in Myanmar are dominated by Asian-based companies such as Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts, which runs Traders Hotel in Yangon, GHM Luxury Hotels, which runs the Strand in Yangon, and Singapore’s Sedona Hotels International. Mandalay and Bagan also have five-star hotels. As the biggest local player, Htoo Group of Companies owns the most hotels in the country. Many other international hotel chains have also started to enter the market such as Peninsular, Sheraton, Kempinski, Pullman, and Melia. A total of 1,391 licenses for hotels and guesthouses, 1,742 licenses for tourist transport businesses, 2,714 licenses for tour companies, 40,046 tour guide licenses and 2,867 local tour guide licenses were already issued as of end of October 2016.
Country’s government focusing on tourism sector and new international flights flying are the key reasons of the growth of the tourism sector. There is still a distinct lack of high-end hotel accommodations in Myanmar, resulting in high room rates. The market also should have more mid-range accommodation to balance the rates and meet the demand of different types of tourists. Despite the approval of new hotel investments, demand still outweighs supply and hotel prices will remain at their current inflated rate. Over 2,000 new hotel rooms are scheduled to be delivered in 2017, an increase of 75% on existing capacity. Moreover, a growing emergence of lower-grade but good-quality hotel supplies is starting to drive down occupancy, rates at some of the high-end hotels. The ministry is expanding the tourism industry by exploring new tourism trends and inviting international hotel chains. There are also fewer restrictions for investments related to tourisms. Eco-tourism destinations in forest reserves to attract international travelers are being implemented by which the locals will be more benefited.
Currently, the Myanmar Hotel and Tourism Law of 1993 is being amended by the Ministry of Tourism Myanmar to effectuate tourism development in harmony with each township in various regions and states. Efforts are in place to provide enough necessary tourism facilities by issuing licenses for hotels and guesthouses, travel and tour agencies and tour guides after appropriate scrutiny.
Tour guide service is not allowed for foreign investor. Investment business allowed only in the form of JV with a citizen owned entity or a Myanmar citizen is domestic tour arrangement. Investment to be permitted with recommendation of Ministry of transportation and communications are tourist transportation (excluding coastal transportation). Investment to be permitted with recommendation of Ministry of Natural resource and environmental conservation are eco-tourism in forest area and natural land.
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