Mergui is Myanmar’s next emerging destination

THE Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar is poised to open up to the broader tourism landscape within the next two years.

According to research by C9 Hotelworks, the archipelago, located in far southern Myanmar and comprising over 800 islands of varying sizes, is seeing a surge in tourism interest, especially from the upscale segment.

From 1,158 visitors in 2012, who all arrived via licenced marine vessels, the total number of arrivals in Mergui has risen to 146,736 for the January to June period of this year alone. This is mainly due to the opening of the Ranong-Kawthaung border between Thailand and Myanmar since August 2013.

Entry into Mergui requires a permit which ranges between US$120 and US$170 in price, depending on the length of stay and area travelled. However, only licenced tour operators may purchase one, meaning FIT travel is barred for now.

This is expected to change as new hotels come online, stated Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

 

As of 2015, there are 21 licensed yacht operators in Myanmar for overnight trips, 20 of which are situated in Thailand. Of those, Phuket is home to 13, Ranong hosts five and there is one each in Phang Nga and Bangkok.

Burma Boating is one company that has plans to continue expansion in the region and will increase its fleet size to cater to increased demand from luxury clients. It will be offering a seven-day itinerary twice a month at US$5,000 per person.

Hotels there too are set to expand. At current, there are two hotels in Mergui, namely the Grand Andaman Resort on Tha Htay Kyun Island and the Myanmar Andaman Resort on Macleod Island, totalling 227 keys.

Accommodation options are set to boom with 12 approved projects in the pipeline as of mid-2016.

 

Source: TTG Asia

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