Thai Investors Look to Bring Mass Tourism to Myanmar’s Myeik Archipelago
By Myo Pa Pa San 4 December 2019
Yangon – Business owners from Thailand have expressed interest to invest in tourism in Kawthaung and the Myeik archipelago, in Tanintharyi Region in southern Myanmar, according to Director-General U Thant Sin Lwin of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).
“The region has mainly engaged in livestock and mining, and lately, tourism is springing up in the region. Thai investors are very interested,” said the director-general.
The region will host an investment forum on Dec. 7 in Myeik, where opportunities to invest in tourism, fisheries and mining would be presented to potential domestic and foreign investors, he said.
A Thai businessman has held talks with DICA and enquired about the potential for operating tours to the Myeik archipelago by plane.
“The businessman has asked about how many islands, hotels and hospitals there are and what planes could land. We are making a list,” said U Thant Sin Lwin.
The investment would be sizable with proposals to welcome cruise ships and seaplanes across Tanintharyi Region, he added.
Myeik is becoming increasingly popular among domestic visitors and is tipped by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism as the next major tourist attraction.
The archipelago attracted more than 45,000 visitors in 2018 with the ministry expecting numbers to grow for this year.
“Domestic firms can’t operate tour packages that require heavy investment. It is good that Thai businesses will fly to the islands. But it would be better if Myanmar’s businesses could do it,” U Thet Khaing, managing director of MT & K Tourism Co, told The Irrawaddy.
He, however, said he welcomed foreign investment because technological improvements were needed.
“But one potential problem is that those islands were sold to individuals under previous governments. So new investors will have to negotiate with the owners for partnerships. This will be a challenge,” said U Thet Khaing.
DICA said Tanintharyi Region had only received 3.3 billion kyats (US$2.2 million) in foreign investment in saltwater-prawn production since 2017.
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