Monthly Archives: March 2013

Myanmar’s to launch tourist police force as industry booms

An independent tourist police force has been formed and its officers will begin patrolling tourist areas next month, according to the Myanmar Tourist Guide Association.

“Training courses on protecting and supporting the tourist industry began two months ago for this [tourist police] force,” said association spokesperson Tun Myat. He said police officers with bachelors degrees had been selected for the force.

The 140 officers will be assigned to tourist sites in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Shan State and the administrative capital Nay Pyi Taw, he said.

Tun Myint Oo, a deputy director from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said he had not been briefed on the force but officials from his ministry had participated in the training courses.

Myanmar launched a tourist police force in 1996, but it was not independent from other police forces. The new one includes officers from the first force, Tun Myat said.

He said that the rapid growth of the tourist industry had led to a shortage of hotel rooms and guides and a rise in illegal businesses. Unprofessional guides had entered the business and tourist police were necessary to control them, Tun Myat said.

“Our association welcomes the tourist police force,” he said.

Source : http://elevenmyanmar.com

Tourist arrivals increase in Shan State, Eastern Part of Myanmar

The number of foreign tourists visiting Shan State rose by more than 40 percent in January and February of this year compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the main gateway to the state, Heho Airport.

Airport figures show about 16,400 foreign tourists arriving in the state in January compared to about 11,400 in January 2012. The figures show about 14,400 foreign tourists arriving in February compared to about 9,200 in February 2012.

Officials from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said March was the peak month.

The state’s cool weather is also a draw for domestic tourists, residents of the state said. Sites popular with domestic tourists include Taunggyi, the capital of Southern Shan state, Inlay lake, and Pintaya and Kalaw towns, they said.

Source : http://elevenmyanmar.com

Nok Air prepares international expansion, starting with two Myanmar routes

indexThailand’s Nok Air plans to pursue fleet and network expansion as it seeks to raise about USD100 million through an initial public offering (IPO). The planned 3Q2013 IPO is one of several milestones for Nok in 2013 as the low-cost carrier resumes international services, initially with flights to Yangon and Mawlamyine in Myanmar. Nok will also take delivery of additional 737-800s, completing in 2013 the phase-out of its 737-400 fleet, which it has been operating since launching services in 2004.

Nok, which is partially owned by Thai Airways, has traditionally been a relatively conservative and low profile carrier. It has not been shy to contract during challenging periods and has never been concerned about establishing an international profile, instead focusing on building a strong local brand in the Thai market. But Nok’s steady profitability and strong position in a growth market should allow for a successful IPO and could eventually lead to significant international expansion.

Mandalay Hill opens platform to sunset tourists

A platform on Mandalay Hill named after a mythical ogress will be transformed into a site for watching sunsets to accommodate the surge in tourists climbing the hill in late afternoons to watch the sun set over the ancient capital, a member of the Mandalay Hill Pagoda Board of Trustees said.

Shops have been moved from Sanda Mukhi platform, but will be allowed to reopen at other locations on the hill, the board member said.

He said that the number of tourists arriving to watch the sunset from the hill was about 300 a day. The board was also taking steps to improve sanitation on the hill and safeguard its historical sites, he said.

Source : http://elevenmyanmar.com

Accor lines up Max Myanmar hotel deal

novotel-hotel-logoFrench hotel chain Accor is negotiating to partner with Max Myanmar to open a Novotel Hotel in Yangon, a spokesperson for the Myanmar conglomerate said last week.

The proposed hotel would be established in a Max Myanmar property known as Pyay Tower on Pyay Road. Max Myanmar Hotel Group project manager U Bo Chan Tun said the proposed hotel will have 366 rooms, including 159 rooms in 14-storey Tower A and 207 rooms in 16-storey Tower B.

“The building is owned by Max Myanmar Group but we are now in negotiations for the operational management of the hotel to be handled by Accor Hospitality. The name of this hotel will be Novotel Hotel (Yangon),” he told The Myanmar Times.

The hotel will feature a presidential suite, penthouse, ball room, meeting room, conference rooms, café, wine bar, French restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre, spa and tennis court.

He said the hotel will help to alleviate the shortage of hotel rooms in Yangon and also create job opportunities.

“After finishing this hotel project, I hope we will be able to recruit more than 600 staff,” he said. “Developing a big hotel with many rooms like this will help to meet demand for hotel rooms.”

The building structure was designed by Singapore-based International Interior Design Association (IIDA), while Vietnam-based AA Corporation has been engaged for the interior design, he said.

Pyay Tower was formerly a joint project between four construction companies – National Development Companies Group, ACE, A1 and Wah Wah Win – and the government. Construction started in 2001 but quickly stalled because of financial problems and Max Myanmar acquired the 60 percent privately held stake in 2009-10.

Earlier this month, Bangkok Post reported that the world’s second-largest hotel chain, Best Western, will open its first Myanmar property in 2013.

The hotel chain is looking at locations in Yangon and Mandalay, the report said.

Best Western, which manages more than 4000 properties worldwide, has been discussing franchising and ownership options of the hotels in Myanmar with potential investors, Mr Glenn de Souza, Bangkok-based vice president of international operations for Asia and the Middle East at Best Western, was quoted as saying.

Source : http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/property-news/4109-accor-lines-up-max-myanmar-hotel-deal.html

Hilton To Open Rangoon Hotel

The Hilton is coming to Burma commercial capital Rangoon, the Financial Times reports. The prestigious international hotel chain has plans to occupy 300 rooms in the city’s tallest building Centrepoint Towers, a skyscraper that has been under construction in the heart of Rangoon for several years. Hilton executives would not comment on the plans, but Burmese government officials confirmed that Hilton Yangon was scheduled to open in early 2014 as part of a management deal between Hilton Worldwide and the Thai-Burmese firm that owns Centrepoint Towers, according to the Times.

Source: Irrawaddy.org

Cheek tattoos and tribal customs draw eco adventurers to Chin State

Chin State in western Myanmar is seeing an upsurge in ecotourists due to its rich culture and abundant physical attractions, tour agents say.

Chin State’s combination of exotic tribes and natural wonders had made it a hit with ecotourists who are often eager for the opportunity to sleep in huts in villages so they can observe tribal customs and lifestyles firsthand, Win Tin, managing director of Journeys Travels and Tours, told Eleven Media.

The custom of cheek tattooing practiced by tribes in Chin State was particularly attractive to ecotourists, Win Tin said. Travel and tour agencies also organize hiking and nature tours in the state, he said, adding that visits usually last from five to 12 days.

Tour agents also pointed to the conflict in Kachin State, saying that since Kachin became inaccessible ecotourists began flocking to Chin State.

“Travel to Kachin has been blocked this tourist season and trips cancelled by tour agencies. However, tourists looking for arduous journeys are taking alternative trips to Chin State instead,” Win Tin said. Fighting between government and Kachin rebel troops broke out in June 2011 and authorities subsequently prohibited tourists from visiting the state.

Ecotourists had been drawn to the snow-peaked mountains in the northern area of Kachin as well as the watershed area that is the source of the Ayeyarwady River, tour agents said.

Win Tin said foreign tourists were drawn to Myanmar by its culture, heritage and natural sites. Chin and Shan states appealed to ecotourists, who are most likely to come from France, Germany and Japan, tour guides said.

Source : http://elevenmyanmar.com/tourism/2619-cheek-tattoos-and-tribal-customs-draw-eco-adventurers-to-chin-state