The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has given the go-ahead to construction entrepreneurs to establish more hotel zones in three regions in the country in a bid to cope with the growing hotel room demand, industry insiders said.
A total of 11 hotel zones will be built in Yangon, Mandalay and Taninthayi regions where most of the tourists to Myanmar go.
The hotel and tourism sector saw K257 billion ($262 million) in investments from the local entrepreneurs in the fiscal year 2013-14.
According to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the number of tourists visiting Myanmar has reached 1.9 million in 2013.
U Tint Tun Aung, director of the ministry, said there are high chances to reach the ministry’s targeted 2 million visitors for 2013-14 fiscal year as the fiscal ends in March. The ministry has set a target of 3 million visitors for the next fiscal year.
Yangon and Bagan stand in the top of the list for most visited tourist destinations, followed by Inle Lake in Shan state, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda in Mon state and Ngapali Beach in Rakhine state, according to the ministry.
In an attempt to develop the major tourist attractions and to increase the number of tourists visiting Myanmar, the government in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and Norway has initiated a seven-year tourism master plan worth $500 million.
The Yangon International Airport, the country’s major international airport, has also seen a tremendous increase in the number of tourist arrivals. According to figures from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the airport received over 300,000 tourists in 2012, up from 160,000 in 2009.
The number of tourist arrival is expected to rise this year as many foreign visitors are visiting Myanmar to attend ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in January in Bagan and Mandalay.
In a recent tender opening by the DCA, Pioneer Aerodrome Services has been awarded the right to upgrade the airport including expanding its capacity from 2.7 million to 5.5 million passengers by 2015. Mandalay International Airport, in upper Myanmar, is also scheduled to upgrade and expand its capacity to handle 3 million passengers annually.
The government is also building the Hanthawaddy International Airport, 80 kilometres from Yangon in Bago region, as the new gateway to Myanmar with an estimated total capacity of 30 million passengers.
In November, the DCA has invited private investors through state-run newspapers to upgrade 30 of the country’s 69 domestic airports.