The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has allowed a joint venture company to start a hotel business on an island that is part of a national marine park in the pristine Mergui archipelago.
Kyaw Phyo Win Mauk Company and Mokan International Co. Ltd have been granted a 50 year lease on the white-sanded Phila Island, which along with four other islands was designated as a national marine park in 1996.
“Cutting trees is forbidden as well as fishing around the island but we see the natural resources shrinking in the last few years. Foreigners are fond of the beautiful sandy beaches but we are worried that the islands may be ruined if the government gives permission for hotel businesses,” said a local from the islands.
Phila is certainly a holidaymaker’s paradise island. Situated 45 miles northwest of Kawthoung, it is well known for its long white beaches, colourful coral reef, and even boasts a small waterfall which provides fresh water all the year round. The Salon (Sea Gypsies), who are a minority ethnic group in Myanmar, sometimes stay there according to travel records.
The national marine park is about 205 square kilometres wide and includes five islands in Kawthoung District in Thanintharyi Region. The protected islands are Lanpi, Wa ahlei, Bo Cho, Nayung Wee and Phila.