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The Kempinski Hotel in Naypyitaw has become the latest casualty of Myanmar's economic instability


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The opulent Kempinski Hotel in Naypyitaw closed its doors this week, the latest blow to Myanmar's battered tourism economy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak and military takeover.


According to a staff member, the Swiss-owned 5-star facility, which entertained then-US President Barack Obama during a visit to Myanmar in 2014, closed its doors on October 13 after sending a letter to guests informing them of the decision.

 

Since the military's seizure of power on February 1, the economy has been in shambles, exacerbating an already severe position brought on by the pandemic.


The Union of Myanmar Travel Association's chair, Naung Naung Han, told Myanmar Now that a shortage of international visitors was driving luxury hotel operators away.


"The number of tourists has dropped dramatically," he remarked.
"They're also concerned about the country's political stability."
All of this explains why they left the nation."

 

Some hotel businesses are able to stay alive by catering to local travellers and long-stay customers, while major multinational hotel chains are reliant on foreign visitors due to their high overheads.
Since March of last year, international tourists have been prohibited from entering the country.


Since its opening in 2014, the Kempinski has accommodated worldwide government officials, ambassadors, and business travellers in its 141 rooms.

 

Aung Ko Win, one of Myanmar's most well-known tycoons, is a shareholder in the hotel through his Kanbawza Group, which invested $45 million in the project alongside the Jewellery Luck Company.


In early September, Nyo Aye, the director of the junta-controlled tourism ministry, reported that 225 of Yangon's 483 hotels had closed.
The Sule Shangri-La, originally known as the Traders Hotel, is one of them.


The Sedona Hotel on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road is still available for long-term guests, although it is no longer accepting new visitors or serving meals in its restaurant.


British American Tobacco joined the exodus of huge corporations from Myanmar last week.

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