RANGOON — The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has stated it will develop the Myeik Archipelago by boosting hotel projects and attracting both local and foreign visitors.
Minister of Hotels and Tourism U Ohn Maung went to the Myeik Archipelago earlier this month to promote the destination and announce the ministry’s plans to develop tourism in the area.
The archipelago consists of more than 800 islands spread over 10,000 square miles in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Burma’s far-southern Tenasserim Division.
Under the previous government, new hotel project proposals were approved in the area by the Myanmar Investment Commission.
Despite arguments that development could harm the untouched environment, the government has decided to go ahead with its plans to boost tourism in the region.
The government has so far approved hotels on Nyaung U Pi, Wa Alel and 115th islands, and a hotelier has proposed another hotel on Nga Khin Nyo Gyi Island.
Environmental and social impact assessments are also being carried out for a hotel construction project on Hline Gu Island in Tenasserim Divison’s Kawthaung District.
On Thursday, state-run newspaper Myanmar Ahlin reported that Kawthaung District has received an increasing number of tourists over the past few years and is unable to meet current demand.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism reports hotel capacity in Kawthaung District as: Myanmar Andaman Club Hotel, 205 rooms; Victoria Entertainment Resort, 52 rooms; Myanmar Andaman Resort, 22 rooms; Garden Hotel, 48 rooms; Honey Bar Hotel, 39 rooms; Penguin Hotel, 32 rooms; Kawthaung Hotel, 44 rooms; and Victoria Cliff Hotel, 40 rooms.
Daw Sabei Aung, managing director of Nature Dream Tourism, said many local and foreign visitors want to visit the islands but the high cost of travel and accommodation, along with a lack of infrastructure, are major issues.
“If you fly from Rangoon to Myeik, airfare costs at least US$300 round trip and hotels are also expensive,” she said.
Currently, tour operators operate single-day trips to islands around Kawthaung, attracting mostly Thai and European tourists. But there are also many tourists who stay overnight in Kawthaung, and the hotel rooms are in high demand.
“We welcome government development of the area, but consideration must be given to who will benefit from it—the local government, residents, or businessmen,” she said.