IFC invests in Myanmar hotels

The organisation sees the country as one of its top emerging market priorities.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, is lending $13.5 million to United International Group to build hotels in Myanmar.

The convertible loan will be used to fund two development phases of two new hotels in Bagan and Inle, the biggest tourism destinations in the country.

The new 144-room hotel in Bagan and 130-room hotel in Inle are expected to comply with IFC’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies Green Building Certification System, which will reduce energy, water, and material consumption by at least 20 percent.

According to IFC, the project will help to develop more quality hospitality infrastructure outside of commercial capital Yangon to meet the rapid growth of its international arrivals from 800,000 in 2011 to more than four million in 2015.

“Tourism, as a leading driver of economic growth and job creation, can play a major role in poverty reduction in Myanmar, particularly for women and young people. But, for this to happen, the sector must be developed in a sustainable manner,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC executive vice president and CEO.

“We are committed to projects that adopt international best practices and promote sustainability in Myanmar’s fast-growing tourism industry.”

The United International Group owns and operates Amata Resorts and Spas, the leading group of hotels and resorts in Myanmar. To date, the group operates four hotels and resorts across the boutique, premium, mid-market, and value segments.

“We are looking actively in Myanmar. Countries like Myanmar are a top priority for us and we have to do more; anything you do in the country will have a huge impact as the baseline is so low,” said Adel Meer, manager at IFC.

IFC had committed around $386 million in investment in the frontier country by the end of September this year, including a $150 million loan to Ooredoo Myanmar for mobile telecommunication network expansion and a $40 million convertible loan for the expansion of Myanmar Industrial Port.