Tourism min­istry eyes Myeik Ar­chi­pel­ago

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI THU eiei­thu@mm­

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.

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