Monthly Archives: August 2014

25 more hotels open in Mandalay as tourism surges

Myanmar’s second-largest city, Mandalay, now has a total of 129 hotels, after another 25 opened in its downtown and uptown areas from January to July this year, according to the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism for Mandalay Region.

Official figures put the total number in the entire region at 236 hotels with 7,940 rooms as of December 2013.

Nyi Nyi Swe, regional officer for the department, said applications had been filed for permission to build 17 more hotels, and once permission was granted construction would start.

Two large hotels, Novotel and another hotel that will be 22 floors, are still under construction and are expected to open next year, officials said.

Tourist arrivals in the region have increased by 25 per cent year on year, after the curfew was lifted on August 11, officials said.

Data showed that the recent violence, which led to a month-long curfew in the city, did not affect the tourism industry of the region as a whole, as visitor arrivals in the first seven months exceeded the number during the same period last year.

“At first, we thought the curfew imposed last month would harm the tourism industry. But there was nothing like that. Foreigners keep flowing into Mandalay Region,” said Nyi Nyi Swe.

He said the department’s data showed tourist arrivals jumped by 25 per cent since the curfew was lifted, when compared to the same period last year.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

TCEB inks accord in Myanmar

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has inked a MICE collaboration agreement with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

A comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding was signed, last week, during a ceremony held in Yangon to build cooperation to expand the events business between the two countries.

TCEB president, Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, said: “Bilateral collaboration would yield profound results for both countries.”

“Myanmar is our second largest trading partner, valued at USD7.82 billion in 2013, with a healthy 15% year-on-year growth,” he said.

The latest move was described as assisting the two countries to achieve goals set out in the ASEAN Economic Community objectives. AEC begins in earnest in 2015.

“We are committed to creating long-term competitiveness … and we both passionately believe that the best way to do this is to jointly promote the MICE industry.”

TCEB’s first roadshow in Yangon with UMFCCI was in May 2013.

TCEB hopes to tap Myanmar’s expanding trade sector to participate in various exhibitions including Food & Agricultural, Hospitality & Services, Medical & Healthcare and Machinery.

In 2013, there were 7,101 Myanmar MICE visitors to Thailand generating more than USD24.9 million in revenue. The figures are estimates provided by TCEB and not independently verified.

Source : TTR Weekly

Airbus taps Myanmar’s tourism

Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia says Airbus hopes to sell or lease helicopters to tourism service operators in Myanmar.

Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia vice president, Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff, told local media that Airbus hopes to supply helicopters for sightseeing trips similar to what is offered by hot air balloons at Bagan.

“Helicopter rides for tourists can succeed just like Myanmar’s popular hot air balloon services, with guests booking through hotels and travel agencies,” he said.

The firm is trying to sell its EC225 helicopters, which can fly 200 km per hour and accommodate seven passengers.

Myanmar Airways International general manager, Daw Aye Mra Tha, said the growth in tourism is promising.

“This type of service will benefit,  not just tourism, but also business travellers, medical evacuations and survey trips,” she said.

Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is part of the European aerospace firm Airbus Group. It has a fleet of 12,000 helicopters worldwide in about 150 countries that it leases out and rents to service providers.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Thailand helps promote Myanmar’s MICE industry

Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) yesterday (August 19) signed an agreement to enhance their cooperation in boosting the MICE industry in Myanmar.

“Meetings and exhibitions are a major tool in boosting foreign tourism income. TCEB has over 10 years of experience in this area and we are ready to share this experience and support Myanmar,” said Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, president of the Thai agency.

State-owned TCEB is in charge of promoting Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) in Thailand.

Under the MoU, both parties will exchange information. They will collaborate in researching important market data and in organising seminars and panel discussions. Ultimately, they will help promote trade between the two countries.

“TCEB is a large organisation and has advanced knowledge in this area than us. It is organising exhibitions in many countries. Together, we will cooperate to promote trade. We’ll also work together in renovating and maintaining facilities so that Myanmar can be like Thailand,” said Myo Thet, Vice-president of UMFCCI said.

Myanmar is now holding three (or) five business and commodity exhibitions a month or over 60 per annum, he said. Shortages of proper venues are hindering the full potential, he added.

Meanwhile, Thailand is one of the top destinations for international exhibitions in Asean. Bangkok has been ranked as 1 among 10 Asian cities with ideal international conference facilities.

In 2013, Thailand drew 1,013,502 MICE visitors, with receipts totaling US$2.94 billion. This year, it is expected that Thailand will see 888,210 international MICE visitors, generating total MICE revenue of $2.90 billion.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Myanmar to protect UNESCO sites

Myanmar Restaurant Association is helping villagers, who live near three ancient Pyu cities, to develop restaurants and souvenir shops to support tourism.

Sri Ksetra in Bago region’s Pyay township, Hanlin in Sagaing region’s Shwebo township and Beikthano in Magwe region’s Taungdwingyi township were recognised by UNESCO for their historical and cultural assets, 22 June.

The cities, which date from between 200 BC and 900 AD, were the first sites in Myanmar to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The restaurant association deputy chair, U Khin Aung Htun, told local media that developing a livelihood for the region’s people was a key factor.

“So, we will give some ideas or contacts for what kinds of souvenirs and foods they could sell and for the decoration of their shops and restaurants.”

He added: “Hotels will need to upgrade so they can accept foreign guests and there will be job opportunities  for pony-cart and trishaw drivers.”

But any major development will require approval from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Ministry of Culture.

According to UNESCO, construction inside the heritage sites could result in them being taken off the heritage list if they are deemed to compromise historical value.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director, U Myo Win Nyunt, said no applications to open hotels near the sites have been received to date.

“To get a permit for a hotel, the main requirements the hotel structure must meet the quality standards of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.”

The Union of Myanmar Travel Association general secretary, U Naung Naung Han, added there should be strict rules for tourism development around the sites.

“If there are no proper rules the heritage sites could be totally destroyed…if people are allowed to randomly open hotels and inns, it can also damage the beauty of these areas.”

The secretary suggested that development should be near but not too close to the sites to interrupt the view and integrity of the sites.

Currently, the three sites receive barely 1,000 visitors a year, according to UMTA, but that number is likely to increase in the future as awareness grows about their significance.

Source : TTR Weekly

Online E-Visa to be issued on September in Yangon

The online E-visa will be started to use at the Yangon International Airport on coming September 1 according to Ministry of Immigration and Population.

The E-visa will be applied for the tourists that will visit Myanmar and other visitors such as visitors for economic reasons and social reasons will not be allowed. Only after this E-visa is in steady regulation, other E-visas will be arranged.

The tourists need to apply to the website address of Ministry of Immigration and Population from their own countries. The Ministry will send their approval within one week of applying. By printing this, they can show together with their passports at the Yangon International Airport.

The Visa is of three months valid starting from the approved date. It allows 28 days in Myanmar for one arrival. The cost of the visa is temporarily termed as of US $ 50.

“We are to use the e-visa system on September 1. It is for tourists of across the world. The cost for visa may be change,” said Aung Thiha, assistant director of the Ministry of Immigration and Population of Yangon International Airport.

The E-visa is jointly cooperating with Myanmar Ease Net Company Limited.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Hotels allowed and upgraded near heritage sites

The government is slated to permit the opening of hotels and inns near heritage centres upon meeting the required standard, said Myaw Myat Moe, secretary of Myanmar Restaurants Association. 

“Hotels and inns will be permitted to open around the villages located near heritage preservation sites in line with the standard set up by the government. We will design the hotel building in conformity with the traditions of a particular zone and will take good care of waste disposal,” said Myaw Myat Moe.

To comply with the standard, restaurant owners will meet and discuss upgrading facilities and building design in line with the area’s cultural heritage.

Hotels and inns near Hanlin, Beikthano Myo (Vishnu City) and Sriksetra, located around Pyo ancient city, will be upgraded before the arrival of this year’s high season for tourist arrivals.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism expects that the upgraded facilities will attract an increased number of international visitors.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

Planned stock exchange still missing a watchdog

Authorities have yet to set up a Securities Exchange Commission, despite suggestions that the watchdog necessary for the stock exchange planned for next year would be established last month, leaving economists disappointed.

According to the Securities Exchange Law passed at the end of July last year, the SEC must be created to monitor transactions on the planned bourse.

The SEC is also responsible to implement the SE Law. Japanese experts advising officials on the establishment of a new stock exchange previously said the SEC would be launched by July, while government officials have denied talk that the bourse will be delayed.

“The stock exchange has not been stalled, progress is steady. The SEC is also on its way. We’ve submitted the proposal. I think it will be passed next month,” Maung Maung Thein, deputy minister of finance, said in May.

The SEC should be set up as soon as possible to prevent the public from being cheated or misled in share sales, experts say. Companies are also required to get permission from the SEC before they can sell shares on the upcoming exchange.

Source : Eleven Myanmar

ANA cancels plan to buy Asian Wings shares

Japan’s All Nippon Airways has backtracked from buying 49 per cent equity stakes in Myanmar’s Asian Wings, according to the ANA statement.

“Competition between new and old airlines in Myanmar has intensified, bringing rapid changes in the external environment and calling into question the assumptions made at the time of the original decision,” said the statement, justifying the cancellation.
Asian Wings spokesperson said although the shares purchase agreement was already sealed, the ANA later carried out a market analysis before the cancellation.

“ANA did a thorough analysis on the current situation of the local airlines, market share and market competition. Afterward, it decided not to enter the Myanmar market,” said Lwin Moe, managing director of Asian Wings.

Under the plan, ANA and Asian Wings would form a joint venture at the equity ratio of 49 to 51 per cent.

Source : Eleven Myanmar