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Five-star hotel brand Westin to launch in 2021 in Myanmar amid hotel glut

The Yoma Central development site in Yangon is seen in the distance. Nyan Zay Htet/The Myanmar Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

YANGON, Oct 31, 2019, Myanmar Times. Westin Hotels & Resorts, the five-star hotel brand owned by US-listed Mariott International, will open its first hotel in Myanmar in late 2021, said Paul Foskey, Asia Pacific Chief Development Officer of Marriott International, Myanmar Times reported.

Mariott International will partner with property developer Yoma Land to bring Westin Yangon to Myanmar. Under the agreement, Yoma Land will develop the 26-storey Westin hotel as part of the US$400 million Yoma Central mixed development project in controlled by Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings in downtown Yangon.

“Yoma Land’s regional expertise and strategic vision for Myanmar development makes it the best partner for the Westin brand. Signing this agreement is a milestone for Marriott International in Southeast Asia,” said Foskey.

When complete in 2021, Westin Yangon will bring an additional 281 hotel rooms into what appears to be an overcrowded market for hotels. There are currently 5500 four and five-star hotel rooms in Yangon alone, 55 percent of which is unoccupied, according to Ko Hpone Myint Thu, an analyst from Colliers International Myanmar.

More high-end hotels are scheduled to come onstream over the next few years, including the Peninsula Yangon, a five-star luxury hotel which will also be a part of Yoma Central. The project is being developed within the former Myanmar Railways headquarters at the corner of Sule Road and Bogyoke Aung San Road.

Despite the current glut in the sector, Colliers International expects that demand will soon pick up on the back of better tourism numbers. “The government has extended visa exemptions for the country and this is likely to increase going forward,” Ko Hpone Myint Thu said.

In October alone, the Yangon International Airport (YIA) announced the launch of two new China routes, to Ningbo in Zhejiang and Dehong in Yunnan. YIA now connects to 35 international destinations, 18 of which are cities from China. A total of 13 Chinese carriers now operate between China and YIA.

Meanwhile, tourists from Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Russia have been given visa-on-arrival access for US$50 each at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw airports starting this month.

Last year, tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau were granted visa-free entry into Myanmar, while Indian and Chinese nationals were given visas-on-arrival. These arrangements have also been renewed this year.

Colliers International also expects economic growth to improve in the years ahead, bringing with it a rising number of business travelers. This will raise demand for hotel rooms, Ko Hpone Myint Thu said.

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