Tourism ministry eyes Myeik Archipelago
MYEIK Archipelago could soon become a choice destination for luxury cruise passengers. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is planning to develop tourism in the area along with local investors, said Minister U Ohn Maung.
“Thai investors interested in developing tourism in Myeik Archipelago contacted us, but we would prefer to deal with local investors first. We’ve received proposals from three ethnic groups for Myeik,” he said.
A cruise business could visit the archipelago only in the dry season. In addition, there will have to be further development on land to make the project work, he said.
“We’ve decided to start cruise tours in Myeik Archipelago, but people are not allowed to stay overnight on the islands in tents. It needs a great deal of investment. But we will take a look at the situation on the ground in cooperation with the Tanintharyi regional government and ethnic entrepreneurs on the islands,” said U Ohn Maung.
Tourism officials will negotiate with the regional Ministry of Resources and Environmental Conservation in December about applying natural resources above and below the water for tourism development, he said. “We want to make sure that local people receive the income from tourism that they ought to have,” he said.
Tanintharyi Chief Minister Daw Lei Lei Maw agrees that local investors should receive priority in the development of Myeik Archipelago.
“Developing the country calls for local investment because foreign investment returns to overseas entrepreneurs. Myeik Archipelago has great tourism potential, with many untouched islands. We will take this as far as we can,” she said.
The chief minister said “unnecessary rules and regulations” that hampered tourism development in the region would be reviewed in cooperation with the tourism and other ministries.
Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, visited Myeik earlier this year amid talks with Myanmar on developing the unspoiled coastline that mirrors some of the more touristed beaches of Thailand.