Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wyndham Hotel Group expanding

Wyndham Hotel Group has opened its first hotel in Myanmar, has another scheduled to open in 2018 and is looking for other opportunities to expand its various brands in the country.

Sule Pagoda lights up as night falls in Yangon. Photo: EPASule Pagoda lights up as night falls in Yangon. Photo: EPA

TRYP by Wyndham Yangon opened last week after starting construction in mid-2015. The 60-room hotel is operating under a franchise agreement with local developer Dragon Mountain Holding and is managed by Kosmopolitan Hospitality, a hotel management company headquartered in Bangkok.

Barry Robinson, president and managing director of Wyndham Hotel Group Southeast Asia and Pacific rim, said that an influx of foreign investment and a newly expanded international airport in Yangon were helping boost tourism in Myanmar.

Wyndham has also signed a franchise agreement for the 260-room Wyndham Grand Yangon Royal Lake, which is in still under construction and scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2018, Mr Robinson said.

The group has 16 separate hospitality brands, including vacation clubs, lodges and cottages.

Mr Robinson said the group was “looking for opportunities to introduce our diverse portfolio of brands from economy to upscale in Myanmar.”

Hotels are big business in Myanmar, where there is huge potential to raise the number of international tourists visiting the country. Multi-national chain Hilton, for instance, has a partnership with Eden Group and expects to open hotels in Mandalay, Bagan and potentially Inle Lake in the next three years.

Yoma Strategic Holdings’ Landmark Project, scheduled for completion in 2020, will see the heritage-listed Burma Railways headquarters building in downtown Yangon turned into a luxury hotel.

But in some cases, with the capital Nay Pyi Taw a prime example, overly optimistic developers have flooded the market.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism last year denied reports that it had issued a ban on construction of new hotels in Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Nyaung Shwe and Kalaw, due to concerns about over supply. But the ministry said it had instructed regional governments to weigh up demand for new accommodation before granting approvals for new hotel projects.  

Mr Robinson said the hotel market in Yangon was “still in its infancy when it comes to quality hotels”, and had seen no evidence of oversupply.

“There is a gap in the market for boutique style accommodation with international service standards and connectivity,” he said. Although like many hotel chains, Wyndham faces challenges in finding local partners and trained staff.

“Finding good, solid partners who will be able to navigate the regulations is a challenge for any business,” said Mr Robinson. “In the hospitality sector, the lack of skilled labour is another challenge but we see this as an opportunity for us to train and develop local talent in hospitality management skills of an international standard.”