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ATTA warns of Myanmar tourism tiger

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Tourism operators are being urged to keep an eye on Myanmar, as the neighbouring nation is expected to emerge as the most important rival to Thailand over the next three years.

"We have to prepare ourselves and study business opportunities, particularly once Myanmar sorts out its political and investment law issues," said Susdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

International tourist arrivals in Myanmar totalled 816,369 last year, up from 791,505 in 2010. The growth of its tourism remains restricted given the small number of hotel rooms, with only 744 hotels and 25,356 rooms.

Maung Maung Swe, chairman of the Union of the Myanmar Travel Association, said the Myanmar government is paying special attention to tourism.

For hotel investment, a land-lease contract for foreigners is now eligible for up to 30 years, with renewal allowed two times at 15 years each.

Businesses in Myanmar are proposing the government extend leasing contracts to 50 years initially with renewal two times at 10 years each.

The private sector is suggesting the government allow 100% foreign ownership of five-star hotels, with joint ventures for three-star-hotels seeing foreigners hold 35-99%, he said.

Budget and two-star hotels will be reserved for local investors only, he added
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Guest Friday, 18 April 2014

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