RANGOON — The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) is inviting proposals for new hotel projects in the Myeik Archipelago, which will be assessed for environmental friendliness in cooperation with the Tenasserim Division government.
The development of the archipelago in Burma’s far south for “eco-tourism” is prioritized in the Tourism Master Plan 2013-20, which was devised under the previous government and is being continued by the present one. It is hoped that the largely unspoiled, coral-rich collection of islands will draw tourists away from the beaches of southern Thailand.
Foreign investor interest in the area has grown slowly. Eleven hotel projects were approved for development under the previous government.
“We’ll have to heed the lessons from other countries while approving new hotels and tourism projects in the Myeik Archipelago, if we’re not to harm the environment there,” MIC secretary Aung Naing Oo said.
He said that no new proposals for hotel projects in the Myeik Archipelago had been received during the first three months of the new government’s term since April.
Tint Thwin, director general of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said they would promote only eco-friendly tourism in the archipelago—regardless of the nature and level of investor interest—and would work with the MIC to guarantee this.
The Mergui Archipelago consists of 800 islands spread over 10,000 square miles in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Burma’s far-southern Tenasserim Division.
The archipelago is currently challenging—and expensive—for most tourists to visit, given the overall lack of existing tourist infrastructure and its remote location, but its potential is reckoned to be huge given the much-cited “over-development” of Thailand’s coastal areas.
Hlwan Moe, the Myeik District assistant director for the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said that, as of July, eight hotel projects in Kawthaung District and three projects in Myeik District were under construction.
“Nearly 80 percent of hotel projects are within Kawthaung District. Hotel construction is getting started on projects approved by the previous government. There have been no new projects under the current government so far,” he said.
Hotel projects now underway are located on the islands of Khuntee (or Gabuza), Eastern Sula, Langan, Tanintharyi, Kadan, Ngakhin Nyogyi, Kyun Phila and Saw Mon Hla.