BANGKOK- English-speaking weekly Myanmar Times announced that Strand Hotels International, a Hong Kong-based company, will start the renovation for three of its properties in Myanmar. Some of the renovations will involve two prestigious properties of the former capital Yangon. The Strand Hotel, one of the last colonial-style properties of Yangon, will have new rooms added to its capacity. According to Daw Yu Yu Win, Group financial Controller and administrative Manager of Myanmar Hotels International (Strand Hotels International subsidiary in Myanmar) the project is due to be completed before the coming peak-season. However, no exact figure has been provided on the total number of rooms being added. Same story for the Inya Lake Palace Hotel, an already 50-year old property which was built in teak wood and which stands majestically overlooking Inya Lake in Yangon city. According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the hotel main lobby and wedding hall will be redecorated while more rooms will be added.
Small renovations will also take place at a three/four stars property, the Thamada Hotel. Located near to the rail station, the hotel will also be ready before the end of the year. With these renovations, travellers will be able to find a limited number of new rooms but at higher prices.
Travellers to Myanmar are likely to face this winter a lack of beds in most major tourist destinations. The country has officially 691 properties offering 23,453 bed rooms. They are currently five hotels under construction which will add 1,415 new rooms until next year. Big projects include a new Shangri La hotel in Yangon, with a capacity of 700 rooms, the Rose Garden with 315 rooms and the soon to be completed Centre Point Towers with 270 rooms. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism encourages also the upgrade of existing guesthouses to be able to get a license to receive foreign travellers. Training is also provided to upgrade English skills for guesthouses’ staff.
A new investment law was recently adopted and is likely to speed up hotel construction while hotel zones are due to be established. In between, with skyrocketing prices for international hotels –average is now over US$ 200 per night compared to US$ 60/US$ 80 a year ago-, tour operators to Myanmar try to gear beds’ shortage and rising rates by limiting the visit of Yangon to only half a day. “We welcome tourists to Yangon in the morning, do a city tour and fly in the evening to another destination such as Mandalay or Inlay Lake,” explains Luzi Matzig, Asian Trails CEO.