Myanmar What's New
Myanmar remains the fastest growing destination in the Greater Mekong area as the country is catching back with years of isolation. In 2012, the country passed the 1 million international arrival mark for the first time and 2013 should be even better! In fact, government officials estimate that Myanmar could easily reach the three million mark by 2015.
More flights have also been allowed into the country while a new airport is now under construction in the Province of Bago, not too far away from Yangon. Still, only three airports are now opened for international traffic. These are Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital.
Golden Myanmar, Thai AirAsia, LAO Airlines and Bangkok airways are all planning new services and routes to the region.
While new flights are being added almost every month, the question of hotel capacity continues to be an issue. The absence of hotel capacity explains why Myanmar doesn’t want to liberalize the visa on arrival system too quickly. But, visas are easier, as is border crossing.
Myanmar needs hotel rooms fast. One hears complaints of excessive price gouging and of guests being bumped when others were willing to pay more but, however crudely accomplished, supply and demand dynamics are clearly in play.
For now, there are only just under 800 hotels (23 are either four or five star) and roughly 28,000 hotel rooms in the entire country. By way of comparison, Bangkok alone has 42,000 registered rooms and many more when those not registered are factored in.
The government is pushing small private entrepreneurs to build up private hotels throughout the country or upgrade some local properties to match international standards.
“They are 77 hotels in construction for now in the country, including 10 hotels in Yangon, which will add some 700 new rooms” according to Myanmar officials at TTM Thailand.
Accor is making moves, and it already a major player in Asia, as from India and China to Fiji and New Zealand, it has 96 hotels and 23,425 rooms.
First to open in Myanmar this year will be the 168-room McGallery Hotel in Naypyitaw, which will be Naypyitaw’s first internationally branded upscale hotel. By the end of 2015 Accor expects to have two more hotels finished.
On March 6, 2013, Hilton Worldwide signed an agreement with LP Holding Ltd for the latter to manage the 21-storey, 300-room Hilton Yangon, due to open next year in LP’s Centrepoint Towers.
New hotel projects in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Bagan and Ngapali are expected to be completed by the end of this year. Big hotel chains like Marriott, Best Western and HAGL are also setting their sights on the country.
Meanwhile, Orient-Express has revealed the first images of its new luxury river cruiser, Orcaella, ahead of the inaugural cruise in Myanmar on July 22. Departing from Mandalay, the 11-night voyage heads up The Chindwin River in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Luxury cruise and safari specialist Sanctuary Retreats also has new vessels and tours launching. SeaDream Yacht Club, has announced more itinerary options in Myanmar later this year.
As a new source of wealth, the government recognises tourism as a critical sector for poverty alleviation and job creation in Myanmar. During the World Economic Forum for East Asia hosted in Nay Pyi Daw in June, the government announced its first tourism master plan to promote sustainable tourism.
High on the government’s priority list is the hotel industry, which has been tainted by overcharging and poor service. To cope with the influx of tourists, the government has designated new hotel zones to meet international standards.
The Myanmar government has joined forces with Norway and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to draw up a tourism-development plan valued at nearly $500 million.
As Myanmar has transitioned over the past two years from a military junta to a quasi-civilian government, and implemented economic, political and social reforms, tourism has boomed.
The master plan recommends strengthening tourism education and training; increasing international air arrivals in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw; improving the Irrawaddy River pier in Bagan to better support river cruising; and building better roads in destinations like Ngapali Beach and Inle Lake.
“Myanmar is now working to relax more of its visa regulations for tourists. The ASEAN Free Visa system will be implemented by the end of this year,” confirms tourism minister Htay Aung.
Among other things, the Myanmar's tourism master plan emphasises the need to provide vocational training to tourism workers because of the lack of skills needed for the industry. Such skills and education will be essential to help create employment in the sector and also benefit Myanmar citizens who have long been living in isolation from the outside world.
Hailed by everyone in the Western press (from CNN to Lonely Planet to Travel & Leisure magazine) as one of the world's “in” places to visit, Myanmar finds its tourism industry ready to increase exponentially in the next three years, if its infrastructure can match the demand.
New and exciting destinations off the beaten track are gradually being opened, from mountain trekking and rafting in the far north to world class diving in the Mergui Archipelago.
Opening Myanmar will let travelers discover one of the most fabulous destinations in the region, which is still completely unspoiled. With its rich cultures, amazing natural and historical heritage, its mountains and its coastline, Myanmar has all the ingredients to turn into a major world destination.
Our New Products
To meet market demand, we invest heavily in product development, focus on the world’s most authentic experiences, and unveil the latest, trendy tours and products available in the region.
Each Lux Signature Myanmar Package tour is designed to capture the crème de la crème of culture and food in the region, allowing travelers to really get a feel for the places they visit.
Our itineraries showcase the country's highlights, but our luxury travel advisors can tailor-make any travel experiences in Myanmar
River cruises are very trendy, we have various cruise packages, active adventure tours in the remote areas (with biking), and we will launch touring holidays along the coast of Myanmar. We also develop tours for special interests such as photography tours, honeymoons, golf tours or tours for seniors