As Kyauk Phyu SEZ gets underway hotels owners ask, ‘Where is everybody?’

A scale model of Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone. Photo: SEZ
A scale model of Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone. Photo: SEZ

ANTICIPATION of the commencing of the Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine State was that it would bring increased tourism to the area, for which hotel expansion was prepared accordingly. However, the number of foreigners visiting the region is yet to live up to expectation, say hotel owners.
“We’ve had hardly any foreign or national guests. Once the Oil and Shwe Gas Project was confirmed some foreigners came to the town, but they’ve rented out their own property.” said U Tin Aung Soe, owner of the May Pone Moe Hotel.
There are seven hotels in the town of Kyauk Phyu, which boast a combined total number of 160 rooms, although hotel owners were only able to fill approximately 15% of these rooms with guests during this month of January.
It is known that some of the foreigners and nationals who have set up base in Kyauk Phyu because of their companies involvement with the Chinese Shwe Gas Project, are living in rented housing within the town of Kyauk Phyu, rather than staying at the one of the town’s hotels.
“This kind of living arrangement [of foreigners living in rented housing] is not in line with article 32(a) of the Hotel and Tourism Law. The relevant bodies need to make sure to regulate this matter.” continued U Tin Aung Soe.
Hotel owners will continue their expansion of hotels in Kyauk Phyu with the expectation of the arrival of foreign guests with the onset of foreign investment projects in the region.
“Construction for a twenty room hotel is still under way. We’re expanding our operations specifically because of the SEZ project.” said U Tin Aung Soe.
It is also known from hotel owners that preparations are also being made for construction of hotels close to the Min Pyin beach where the Kyauk Phyu SEZ is to be built.
The building of the Kyauk Phyu SEZ was approved in union parliament on 29 December, 2015 with 424 votes in favour of the project against just 23 votes who opposed, while the first actual phases of construction of the zone will commence at the end of this year, according to the Kyauk Phyu SEZ administration committee.

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