Interview with May Myat Mon Win, Gaming & Leisure Magazine, Spring 2013


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Remarkable Journey :: The opening of the Tourism & Hospitality Market in Myanmar - A Discussion with May Myat Mon Win in Yangon

from Gaming and Leisure Magazine
Spring 2013

Published in: Travel, News & Politics, Business
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Interview with May Myat Mon Win, Gaming & Leisure Magazine, Spring 2013

  1. 1. Spring13_G&L.qxd 3/10/13 2:12 PM Page 32 HOSPITALITY Bill Healey REMARKABLE JOURNEY: THE OPENING OF THE TOURISM & HOSPITALITY MARKET IN MYANMAR A DISCUSSION WITH MAY MYAT MON WIN IN YANGON Shortly after his successful due to visits in Myanmar year 1996. I joined reelection, President Obama Hotel Nikko Royal Lake Yangon at the end of made a historic trip to 1998 as Senior Sales Manager, as Director of Sales Myanmar (still officially in the year 2000, director of sales and marketing referred to as Burma by the in year 2004 until the end of 2010. Nikko was American government). rebranded as Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon On 19 November 2012, he in 2008. I am currently performing duties at became the first sitting US Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon as Assistant president to visit the country. General Manager taking responsibilities for mar- keting and operation functions of the property. I During his visit, President Obama met separately have an executive MBA degree at Yangon with President U Thein Sein and Nobel Peace University, Hospitality Marketing Course by Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi at the lakeside Education Institute of American Hotels and villa where the pro-democracy icon spent years Lodging Association, Sales and Marketing under house arrest. During his short visit, Obama Management course by Singapore Productivity also fit in a speech at the University of Yangon. and Standard Board during my career. Met by throngs of Burmese looking to greet him G&L: Democratic and economic reforms as he passed in the streets of Yangon, Barack recently made by President Thein Sein, have Obama used the stop to encourage the once been seen as providing significant opportuni- repressive regime to remain on its positive direc- ties for growth. Have you seen, or do you tion toward political and economic reforms start- May Myat Mon Win l Assistant General expect to see these reforms impacting the ing in 2011. The hospitality industry in Manager of Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon Myanmar hotel sector? Myanmar is one of the industries benefiting from “flickers of progress that we have seen.” Could you give us a brief summary of your hote- MMMW: Yes. Undoubtedly, Myanmar has been lier background? going through a remarkable journey of change I have had the pleasure to discuss the state of the and reforms with the leadership of President U hospitality industry with May Myat Mon Win, MMMW: I started my hotelier career at Thein Sein. 2012 has been such a remarkable Assistant General Manager (Marketing & Summit Parkview Hotel as Confidential year for Myanmar’s history. 12 months ago it Operations) at the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Secretary at the end of 1994. Then I changed would be hard to even dream of what’s happen- Yangon. She is a very experienced hospitality my career to sales and marketing in the middle ing now. The reform process has opened signifi- executive within the Myanmar hotelier industry. of 1995 as Sales Manager handling all of sales cant opportunities for business, investment, and and marketing functions for the Summit human capital in the country. One of the first G&L: You have quite a solid background in Parkview. Myanmar had received rapid increase industries benefiting from the growth is the sales and marketing at 5-star hotels in Myanmar. in demand during the years of 1995 to 1997 hotel and tourism sector. Undoubtedly, Myanmar has been going through a remarkable journey of change and reforms with the leadership of President U Thein Sein. 32 GAMING & LEISURE SPRING 2013 702.547.4545
  2. 2. Spring13_G&L.qxd 3/10/13 2:12 PM Page 34 HOSPITALITY G&L: Myanmar will host the World Economic Forum and the SEA Games in 2013 and the ASEAN Summit in 2014. There appears to be significant international interest in Myanmar as a conference and leisure destination. Is Myanmar’s hotel sector able to adequately meet the short- term growth demands with rooms that are con- sidered “suitable for tourists?” MMMW: There are various significant big events lining up for 2013 and 2014 including the World Economic Forum Asia Pacific Annual Meeting in June 2013, South East Asia Games in December 2013 and several ASEAN meetings including the ASEAN summit. In addition, we expect many international confer- ences will be hosted in Myanmar. As of leisure, we expect to see significant increase from new markets such as America, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia in 2013 and 2014. In the short term, say for a 1- 2 year period, the hotel sec- tor, especially in Yangon and Mandalay, will most likely face challenges to accommodate the increasing demand if some of the local hotels cannot supply upgraded quality. On the other hand, new hotel projects have been approved MMMW: In the past few years, travel to Myanmar nature, culture, heritage, and very hospitable and and development is underway. has always been a contradicting issue by some friendly people. This is the perfect time to visit the inbound markets. But the perception has been total- country whether it is for business or pleasure. G&L: Aside from improving social and eco- ly changed along with the reform process and posi- nomic conditions, how can the government tive changes happening in the country. I’d like to thank May Myat Mon Win for her ease restrictions to improve conditions for contribution to this article. As the Asian hospi- international hotel investment? For 2012 until November, most inbound travelers tality and tourism market is expecting to contin- are coming from Asia (66% of total) – Thais 29%, ue leading the global market in tourism and MMMW: The major challenge for foreign Japanese 15% and Chinese 12%, followed by hotel expansion, it is my hope that the market in hotel investment is the availability of land Europeans (22% of total) - French 28%, British Myanmar can share in that growth. and property prices. Recently, the govern- 21% and Germans 20%, and American (10% of ment has approved new FDI law. total). According to the market trends, we expect Based in Bali, Bill has been consulting, installing and that there will be significant increases of inbound supporting solutions in the global golf and leisure G&L: You are also an executive committee member travelers from the Americas and Europe (especially industry since 1982. He has been involved with over of the Myanmar Marketing Committee. This is the Northern Europe) for 2013 and 2014. Myanmar is 1000 systems installations in 40+ countries from marketing arm of the Myanmar Tourism Federation. such a great destination with a vast diversity of North America to Africa to Asia and Australia. How does MMC assist the hotel sector? MMMW: Myanmar Marketing Committee (MMC), the marketing arm of Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) supports the destination mar- keting activities abroad. MMC selects target mar- kets and promotes the destination by participat- ing with travel shows, organizing road shows, organizing familiarization trips and media trips. G&L: Addressing the city of Yangon specifically, where are most of the inbound tourists coming from? Do you expect a higher percentage coming from Europe and the Americas in the coming years? 34 GAMING & LEISURE SPRING 2013 702.547.4545