Myanmar’s Shangri-La Hotel Temporarily Closes Amid COVID-19 Impact
By Zaw Zaw Htwe 14 January 2021
Yangon – The five-star Sule Shangri-La Hotel in Yangon is the largest of more than 1,000 hotels in Myanmar to temporarily close due to COVID-19.
The Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Group invests in real estate and operates more than 100 hotels and resorts in 76 global destinations.
It is part of Malaysia’s Kuok Group, one of Asia’s most powerful multinational conglomerates with assets in property, logistics, agribusiness, maritime and hospitality.
The hotel, formally known as the Traders Hotel, at the corner of Sule Pagoda and Bogyoke Aung San roads in central Yangon city, was the tallest building in Myanmar from 1996 to 1999. The 470-room hotel was rebranded in 2014.
Of more than 2,000 hotels in Myanmar, more than 1,000 have temporarily closed since the country’s first COVID-19 case was detected on March 23.
Most beaches and resorts are closed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and international commercial flights have been grounded since March.
By the end of December, nearly 30,000 hotel staff have been made unemployed, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The Sule Shangri-La said the temporary closure from February 1 followed prolonged low business levels after exploring all other options. Jobs were axed last month.
The hotel said the Sule Square Mall and Offices and Shangri-La Residences will remain open.
It said most hotel staff will be placed on an extended leave of absence with a partial wage and full health care benefits.
The hotel said it intends to reopen when conditions improve in the next nine months.
On Wednesday, Myanmar reported 132,260 COVID-19 cases, including 2,902 fatalities and 115,621 recoveries.
Since Dec. 19, Myanmar has seen a decline in daily COVID-19 cases. Fewer than 1,000 new cases are being reported per day, down from a peak of more than 1,400.
Cases have been reported at about 300 townships across the country.
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