Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism denies it has banned construction of new hotels at several major tourist spots following reports in local newspapers.
The report on the supposed ban of new hotel builds was rolled out by the country’s usually cautious Global New Light of Myanmar, last week.
Ministry of Hotels and Tourism director, U Myo Myint, made the clarification at a press conference a day after the news report that claimed the country would suspend approval for new hotel construction in Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Nyaung Shwe and Kalaw.
inside no 1The ministry said it was concerned that room capacity would exceed tourist demand.
“The ministry asked regional governments to weigh demand against supply before granting approval for the construction of new hotels, but there has been no outright ban as claimed by the media,” the director said.
“We have not prevented new developments,” he said. “We just recommended caution and careful appraisal before granting permission.”
According to ministry statistics, around 46% of all rooms available to tourists are vacant, while only 51% of all hotel rooms in Mandalay are booked.
Meanwhile, a mere 28% of all rooms in Nyaung Shwe are occupied. The rate of occupancy is only 43% in Taunggyi, and 18% in Kalaw.
The report did not say the time period for the average room occupancy, but the ministry usually announces average hotel occupancy on an annual basis. Hotels rooms are packed during November through to February, while there is a massive decline in demand for holidays in Myanmar, July to October ,due to heavy monsoon rain.
There are a total of 1,371 licensed hotels consisting of 53,716 rooms across the nation.
The country welcomed 4.6 million foreign visitors last year, an increase of 52% compared with 2014. Spending by tourists rose by 19% to USD2.1 billion last year.
The ministry estimates tourist arrivals will reach 5.5 million this year and are likely to reach 7.5 million by 2019.