By Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is planning one more new hotel zone in Yangon, making feasibility study on 200-acre (81- hectare) land plot in suburban area of Dagon Myothit (East) to cope with growing prospective visitors this year.
Thanks to improved international relations gained in last year, Myanmar is receiving more foreign tourists.
In a bid to fulfill the hotel demand, the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism had started in late last year to plan some new hotel zones in areas between Myanmar's Yangon International Airport and the Hanthawaddy International Airport under implementation.
The new hotel zone to be introduced under the Yangon urban development strategic project is expected to be finalized for implementation by December 2013 along with the project of the Hanthawaddy Airport.
Lands in Mingaladon, Htaukkyant and Hlegu, which are within Yangon region, have been earmarked for setting up the new hotel zones.
Since foreign investment is being invited for the development of the zones, entrepreneurs from Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam are discussing with the authorities concerned for the move.
The existing hotel zones in Myanmar lie in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Bago, Rakhine , Mawlamyine, Bagan, Taunggyi, Chaungtha, Golden Triangle and Ngwehsaung.
Official figures show that up to 2012, there was a total of nearly 800 hotels in Myanmar including 22 foreign invested hotels, 4 joint-venture hotels, 6 government hotels and 707 private-owned ones.
Of those in Yangon, five hotels are rated as five-star's, six as four star's, 13 as three-star's,21 as two-star's and 21 as one- star's.
Myanmar earned 1.064 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 as of July from hotel and tourist sector.
Since late last year, the ministry has also planned new more hotels in Myanmar's capital of Nay Pyi Taw in preparation for the Myanmar-host upcoming 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Of them, 29 are being built by local entrepreneurs and the hotel construction is underway in three townships in the Nay Pyi Taw Council Area.
Once the project is completed, there will be nearly 8,000 hotel rooms to meet visitors' demand for the regional sports event.
The 27th SEA Games will be hosted by Myanmar in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Ngwesaung Beach for 12 days starting from Dec. 11 to 22, 2013 and the event will be competed by 5,000 athletes from 11 countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and host Myanmar.
Several millions of people across the region and the world are expected to witness the spectacular Games either on site or through the television and internet.
Myanmar is making efforts to develop tourist, a smokeless industry, in light of its reform strategy by introducing a policy of responsible tourist in the country.
The responsible tourist policy is being developed with the technical and financial support from the Germany-based Hanns Seidal Foundation and a master plan in this regard is being drafted.
The plan is also supported by the Norwegian government and the Asian Development Bank.
Myanmar stands an interesting tourist destination for international travelers to experience its abundantly rich, cultural and natural heritage, genuine hospitality and spiritual value.
It is becoming an attractive economic destination for foreign investment in different sectors too.
The Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has organized tourist development workshops in key tourist destinations to discuss with the stakeholders on current and future needs and how to meet challenges of tourist.
According to official statistics, the total tourist arrivals during 2011 were over 800,000, up more than 24,000 or 3 percent from over 790,000 in 2010.
The tourist arrivals for the first 10 months of 2012 totaled 420,000.
Myanmar rejoined the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) in June 2012 which promised to support Myanmar in taking full advantage of its tremendous tourist potential.