Political stability has led to a growth in Myanmar’s hotel industry.
Rani Leena Balagobal, Director of Sales and Marketing tells us why ‘Business is Pleasure’ at the Rose Garden Hotel
Towering pagodas, spectacular archaeological sites, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains and a fascinating traditional culture at the forefront of local life are among the reasons why record breaking numbers of visitors have been captivated by Myanmar since the easing of the tourism boycott in 2018.
Here, Rani Leena Balagobal, Director of Sales and Marketing of the Rose Garden Hotel, Yangon, gives us an insight into how political change has encouraged growth in the tourism and hospitality sector, and how the Rose Garden Hotel has responded to the challenges involved.
Could you give us an overview of how the tourism industry within Myanmar has undergone dramatic development in recent years?
Before 2012, the majority of Myanmar was completely off limits to tourists with the military tightly controlling interactions between its people and non-native individuals. Locals were forbidden, under penalty of imprisonment, to discuss politics with foreigners, resulting in the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board issuing an order to limit ‘unnecessary contact’ between foreigners and the ordinary people of Myanmar.
However, since political power was transferred to the civilian government, the country has adopted a new stance regarding travel and tourism. It is now seen as a method of providing economic benefit to the country and is positively encouraged. To give some perspective on this, in 2012 tourist arrivals surpassed the one million mark for the first time. By 2020 this figure is expected to rise to 7.5 million arrivals.
How has Myanmar needed to improve its infrastructure to cope with the demands of its rapidly increasing travel and tourism industry?
The number of foreign airlines flying to destinations within Myanmar now stands at 24 in comparison to a 2012 figure of 13. Further capacity is planned as additional routes are scheduled and more carriers look at launching services within Myanmar. This has put immense pressure on the existing airport infrastructure, but work is underway at Yangon International Airport to accommodate this rising demand. A new arrivals and departures terminal opened in 2015 raised capacity to six million passengers per year, and this is expected to grow to nearly eight million by 2020.
The Rose Garden Hotel is uniquely placed to cater for the increased numbers of travellers. Could you briefly describe the facilities and services you provide?
The Rose Garden Hotel combines traditional authentic Myanmar style, cutting edge technology and international standard facilities. The hotel is a five-star independent which features an elegant lobby, a gourmet restaurant, stylish bar and seven floors of well equipped, beautifully decorated suites and executive rooms to suit all needs, as well as a gallery, fitness centre, business centre and shops. We are able to accommodate private events for up to one thousand participants, and being located only 30 minutes from Yangon International Airport, we offer loyalty bonuses including exclusive airport lounge facilities for guests booking our business packages.
How does the Rose Garden Hotel specifically cater for its business travellers?
Our ethos is ‘Business is Pleasure’ and we pride ourselves on our dedication to providing a comprehensive range of amenities, facilities and services to our business guests. ‘Business is Pleasure’ is also the name of our recently launched programme providing extended benefits and services to business travellers.
Co working and fully serviced office spaces on demand are available on an hourly, short or long term basis, providing unlimited wireless Internet, full secretarial and business services, refreshments and catering as well as 24 hour reception service and security. Our concierge team also provide airport transfers and private travel with English speaking drivers who are always delighted to transport guests around Yangon.
Additionally, our meeting, conference rooms and ballrooms can accommodate events of all sizes. In total we offer more than 20,000 sq.ft of fully equipped floor space. The Inn Gyin Ballroom is one of the largest in Yangon and is the perfect venue for conferences, events, tradeshows and exhibitions, and our Swe Daw Room located on the seventh floor has breath taking views of the Shwedagon Pagoda and garden areas. For outdoor cocktail receptions and parties, our poolside garden area, is a tranquil haven for soaking up the sun and enjoying the lush greenery.
Our accommodation is designed with comfort and relaxation in mind. Our superior, Deluxe, Executive and Suites feature authentic décor and include central air conditioning, LED TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and mini bar. Premier rooms with panoramic views over Yangon, also feature a range of exciting executive benefits including free breakfast at our foyer restaurant, free use of our business centre and laundry assistance. Two bedroomed family suites are available for business travellers with families as well as rooms which are fully wheelchair accessible.
There’s something for everyone at the Foyer Bistro, our all day dining restaurant which serves local cuisine as well as dishes from around the world. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, choosing from an extravagant buffet or our a la carte menu. Our Portico Café and Lounge serves pizza and pasta and our Veranda Bar provides bar foods and snacks with vegetarian options from a cocktail bar / business club atmosphere. During the evening live music complements the cocktail bar theme.
What does the ‘Business is Pleasure’ extended benefit package include?
Our ‘Business is Pleasure’ programme gives free access to our pool and gym areas, breakfast, ‘insider knowledge’ (airport pickups, car rentals, bespoke travel itineraries, sightseeing trips, etc, as well as airport lounge access, office on demand and business centre packages and a flyer bonus programme where frequent travellers can earn and redeem Bangkok Airways Points.
We also offer safe convenient payment options for our international and domestic travellers, and can accept mobile payments via Alipay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Wave Pay. Hotel guests can also pay with Master Card, Visa, JCB and MPU.
In the light of the growing industry demand, have you implemented any environmental initiatives or programmes?
We’ve taken a pledge to reduce plastic with our ‘Go Green’ practices to eliminate plastic water bottles. We encourage guests to refill water bottles at our complimentary refillable water stations and only offer straws for beverages upon request. Our ecologically sustainable Themed Meetings provide delegates with recycled stationary and napkins and our lighting and heating systems are eco-friendly.
What aspect of running the Rose Garden Hotel are you most proud of?
With an establishment of this size and prominence, collaborative team working is vital. We are most proud of all our staff who collectively have enabled us to receive the 2018 title of Business Hotel of the Year, Myanmar as well as the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and Luxury Travel Award for the second consecutive year.
Further information on the Rose Garden Hotel’s range of rooms, amenities, facilities and services can be found at www.theroseyangon.com/