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Top Myanmar Beach Destinations to Watch

April 27, 2017 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Consulting group C9 Hotelworks looks at the soaring numbers in Asias off the beaten pathemerging market

Four of Myanmar’s beach destinations are emerging as leading contenders in Asia’s search for the next exotic tropical getaway spot. While each has its own unique DNA, what’s clear is that there are different paths ahead for the group.

According to research released  in  C9 Hotelworks new Ngapali Beach Tourism Market Review, last year over 70,000 visitors were recorded which was an impressive 31% year-on-year increase. Most travelers come via flights to the gateway Thandwe Airport on domestic service from Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Heho and Sittwe.

From our discussions with the local authorities Thandwe is currently in advanced discussions to add in direct international flights in the not too distant future.  As Myanmar’s aviation sector is on the upswing, the impact of more airlift to Thandwe last year pushed growth up 28% and more importantly fed in numbers during low season.

On the hotel front, rates at international hotels remain strong given limited supply. Average room rates in upscale accommodation ranges from USD150-200 and with new demand occupancy levels on an annualized basis are now exceeding 60%. One key addition to the market has been the arrival of the Hilton brand.

To date the supply side of Ngapali is relatively small with 26 establishments hosting a total of 878 keys. With the Thandwe hotel zone now becoming crowded the government is expanding the zone South by 7 kilometers and will be broken into two phases. The key infrastructure to the area that will be added are roadways, electricity and other public service.

Looking at the hotel market, while 69% of demand is from overseas travellers, domestic tourism is rising fast. Access remains the key, and the hotel pipeline of new projects now standards at 516 key under development.

Taking a step back and looking at the four key beach destinations in the country – Ngapali, Kawthaung, Ngwe Saung and Chaungtha, they are four very different products. The latter two, given driving access to Yangon clearly are more attractive to surging domestic numbers and more volume driven products.

In the case of Kawthaung, this is rapidly evolving as a tourism hub for the Mergui Archipelago and the connection to the nearby Thai market of Greater Phuket via Phang Nga and Ranong has many synergies.

C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett commented “while Ngapali, escalating land costs are likely to see a series of internationally branded luxury resorts coming up in the next two years. With high room rate and mounting demand, it’s not hard imagine that Myanmar’s big four beach destinations are going to be attracting a significant amount of attention from both domestic and international hospitality players. “

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