Why foreign investors are attracted to Myanmar

Way back in October, we took a look at Myanmar's potential for hotel development. A growing economy is leading to improved airlift which is leading to improved tourism numbers—making the country ripe for tourism-related investment.

International investors are clearly paying attention: As of last month, Myanmar's hotel and tourism sector has received foreign investment of more than $2.687 billion.

The sector is the seventh-most popular industry for foreign investment, accounting for 3.87 percent, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration reported. A full 67 industry-related businesses in the country had received investments, the Directorate claimed, and there has been an increase in the number of joint venture businesses.

For example, Myanmar’s Eden Group is planning to spend an estimated $130 million on two hotels in partnership with Hilton Worldwide in top tourist destinations of Bagan and Inle Lake, as early as 2018. Kempinski, Amara, Centara, Dusit, Melia, Shangri-La, Tangram, Hilton and Best Western are just a few of the brands that have invested in Myanmar. The Sheraton Yangon, the chain’s first in the country, is expected to open next summer. 

In 2015, foreign investors dropped $2.6 billion of foreign investment was made for the development of hotel and tourism-related commercial complexes, mostly routed from Singapore, a fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This amounted to a total of 9,132 rooms across 48 projects, of which (as of October) 69 percent were complete, 25 percent were under construction, and 5 percent had received approval from Myanmar Investment Commission. 

For context, as of January 2017, foreign investment volume in Myanmar reached $22.4 billion from 154 projects in the oil and gas industry, $20.3 billion from 12 projects in the energy sector, $7.6 billion from 711 projects in the manufacturing sector, $8.12 billion from 44 projects in the transport sector, and $3.8 billon from 39 projects in the real estate development industry.