Published on : Friday, May 26, 2017
To quote U Khin Aung Htun, “Tanintharyi region is quite big and wide and the infrastructure is not good yet, such as the airport facilities and transport to and from the islands. These are very important in the tourism development. Hence we need the assistance from international financial organisations such as the IFC. We also need to cooperate with local investors as well.”
The committee’s chair, Serge Pun, is the chair of Yangon-listed First Myanmar Investment (FMI) and Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings. FMI looks after both tourism and island development. FMI also entered into a joint venture last year with Manaung Public Company Limited – which is majority-owned by Manaung Island residents – to develop the island’s infrastructure.
U Yan Win, chair of Myanmar Tourism Federation told The Myanmar Times, “The Tanintharyi tourism development committee will also invite investors from other countries. We will always accept people if they invest according to the law. The government has already opened up places such as Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan for tourism investment. According to the ASEAN economic policy, people can feel free to invest if they want to.”
The current hotel and hospitality capacity is not sufficient for the demand from visitors. In response, the committee had decided to prioritise which islands should be allocated for hotel or resort projects, and which ones should be for conservation instead of opening to tourism.
In January 2017, The Myanmar Times reported that the committee was drawing up a master plan for sustainable tourism in the region. U Khin Aung Htun told The Myanmar Times that they will implement the master plan and are negotiating with the related ministries about upgrading the Kawthaung airport.
The Tanintharyi tourism development committee promoted the Myeik archipelago as a destination for tourism in the ASEAN Tourism Forum which took place earlier this year in Singapore, as well as other international events.