Myanmar mulls more beach resorts

RAKHINE STATE, 16 February 2017: Myanmar’s Rakhine state government has issued a proposal to the union government to open seven new beach resorts in Gwa Township and two in Thandwe Township.

Irrawaddy News quoted the regional minister for finance, revenue and economics, U Kyaw Aye Thein, saying the seven locations in Gwa township have potential to become attractive beach resorts that would appeal to international visitors.

“The state government is awaiting approval from the union government to identify and approve hotel zones on the Gwa coastline.”

inside no 4 Credit Irrawaddy media
Credit Irrawaddy media

The minister said they would then invite developers to invest in projects.

There is considerable discussion on the wisdom of opening beach resorts until there are legal frameworks and compliance mechanisms in place to ensure marine assets are protected.

Top ministry officials have visited beach resorts in neighbouring Thailand to study the impact of commercial development on natural resources and the coastal environment. There is still considerable debate on how Myanmar will ensure it does not repeat the same mistakes that in the long-run have destroyed beach and island environments throughout Thailand.

In related news, the state and union governments are working on an upgrade of the highway to Gwa from Nga Thaing Chaung town in Irrawaddy Division.

Some local travel agencies are arranging tour packages to Gwa for domestic travellers by minivan from Yangon, the report said.

The Gwa seashore is already popular with among local visitors, but there are not quality resorts like those found on neighbouring Ngapali beach, it added.

Thandwe, which was formerly known as Sandoway, is the largest city in the area and the main gateway to Ngapali Beach.

Situated on the western coast, Rakhine state borders Chin state in the north, Magway Region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwady Region in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west, and Chittagong, Bangladesh, to the northwest.