Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Liquor licenses yet to be approved for hotels

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Ministry of Home Affairs Liquor and Tax Department, have yet to agree on the issuing a single liquor licenses for hoteliers.

A waiter serves drinks at a resort in Myanmar. Naing Wynn Tun/The Myanmar TimesA waiter serves drinks at a resort in Myanmar. Naing Wynn Tun/The Myanmar Times

According to the existing policy in Myanmar, every hotelier who wants to sell alcoholic beverages needs to secure a liquor license from the Ministry of Home Affairs, even if the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has already issued a hotel license.

U Tint Thwin, director general of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said on August 10 that he hope the Ministry of Home Affairs would agree to the ministry’s proposal that a hotel license is enough for hoteliers to buy alcoholic beverages.

“Beverages are one of the essential needs in hotels because they are directly dealing with foreign visitors. But some hotels do not have liquor license so we are negotiating with Ministry of Home Affairs to let liquor license together with hotel license be handled by the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism for hoteliers only,” U Tint Thwin said.

The Liquor and Tax Department has issued only 41,153 liquor license for the whole country and are not issuing new liquor license for the time being, that is why many hotels faced the difficulties with liquor license application.

The tourism and home affairs ministries are directly odds over the issue. The Ministry of Home Affairs wants to keep the number of licenses down while the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism want it to be given to as many hotels and tourism establishments as possible in order to attract more visitors.

“It would be fair give and take thing more than before. We are more understanding about each other’s concerns and we are trying to find a common ground that’s why are still negotiating,” U Tint Thwin said. “We will put in liquor license under the tourism draft law if they will let us add it within the hotel license permission,” U Tint Thwin said.

We will classify the hotels to determine which leve should be issued liquor licenses, he added.

“We will discuss further with Myanmar Hotelier Association to classify hotel levels,” U Tint Thwin said.

“It is very good for hoteliers if liquor licenses are issued by Ministry of Hotel and Tourism instead of separately applying to with the Ministry of Home Affairs. And then we will decide the hotel rating in the upcoming association’s monthly meeting,” U Aung Myo Min Din, chairman of Myanmar Hotelier Association told The Myanmar Times on August 16.

The Myanmar Hotelier Association has a total of 1161 member hotels, of which 1139 are locally owned while 22 are foreign direct investments. Only 168 of the association’s members have liquor license.

According to Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, there are 1530 hotels with 60487 rooms in the country at the end of July. Most of them are still troubled by liquor license issue.