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October 20, 2015

Asia: Echoes in an Empty Capital

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cityOn first impression, Nay Pyi Taw is a model of efficiency: on arrival at the airport you can clear immigration, collect your luggage, change dollars into kyat and sit in your transfer vehicle within 15 minutes. The 16 km drive into the capital passes quickly as you journey along tree-lined, multi-lane roads that are practically devoid of traffic. Then there's the impressive sight of the hotels: long driveways lead up to massive resorts where the buildings are dispersed over large tracts of land. Everything appears bigger and more spread out. They have the space, so why not use it?

There's also plenty of data to show the city is built for business: Nay Pyi Taw International Airport has a capacity of 3.5 million passengers a year; Myanmar International Convention Centre features 29,000 square meters of floor space and can hold 1,900 people in its plenary hall; and there's no shortage of accommodation -- there were 4,884 rooms spread across 58 properties at the end of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MHT).

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