Memories Group buys a stake in Yangon’s Strand

YANGON, 3 May 2019: Myanmar-based Memories Group has invested USD3.19 million in Strand Hotel International Ltd that operates three hotels and river cruise boat.

The investment gives the company a minority share in the Strand Hotel, an iconic landmark on the Yangon waterfront, the four-star Inya Lake Hotel, a 27-acre lakeside property in northern Yangon; the city centre Hotel G Yangon and the Strand Cruise, a 25-cabin riverboat that sails the Ayeyarwady River.

“The acquisition is in line with our plans to own, develop and/or operate more hotels and lodges so as to expand our hotel business segment,” said Memories Group CEO Cyrus Pun.

“I remain convinced of the enormous tourism potential of Myanmar and I am keen to drive the expansion of our hotel business footprint across the country in order to further cement our position as the leading tourism company in Myanmar.”

The Strand and its affiliates join the Memories Group portfolio, which over the past six months saw the opening of three hotels in Myanmar – the four-star Awei Metta, overlooking the Pun Hlaing Golf Course in Yangon; the 72-key Hotel Suggati on the riverfront in Mawlamyaing; and Awei Pila, a 24-villa resort on a remote island in the Mergui Archipelago.

In early 2018, the Group also acquired Burma Boating, a yachting and sailing operator in the Mergui archipelago.

The Myanmar-based tourism company, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, also owns Balloons Over Bagan, which in addition to its hot-air balloon flights over both the ancient temples of Bagan and popular resort Inle Lake, earlier this year announced the launch of balloon adventures in Loikaw, a remote outpost in eastern Myanmar which is home to the famed “lock-neck” ladies of Kayah State.

The iconic Strand Hotel in Yangon.

Boutique eco-lodges Keinnara Loikaw and Keinnara Hpa-an are the other resorts under the Memories Group brand.

According to the country’s hotel and tourism ministry, Myanmar attracted some 3.55 million foreign visitors last year, a far cry from the 38.27 million tourists that neighbouring Thailand recorded.

Until recently, much of Myanmar, previously known as Burma, was off-limits to tourists due to the country’s political and economic isolation. But its fledgeling tourism industry looks set to challenge many of the region’s top destinations with its wide choice of historical sites, colourful ethnic cultures, and natural splendours such as rainforests and undiscovered tropical beaches growing more accessible year by year