Kawthaung Airport to be Upgraded to Int’l Standard

Tanintharyi regional government plans to upgrade Kawthaung Airport to an international standard facility to attract more foreign flights to southern Myanmar.

“We submitted a proposal for Kawthaung airport’s expansion to the union government earlier this year and are still awaiting a decision. If approved, the project will go on (under) the union government’s budget or with the cooperation of public (companies),” U Kyi Hlaing, Tanintharyi’s minister of Transportation and Electricity, told The Myanmar Times.

Tanintharyi Region has three airports, at Myeik, Dawei and Kawthaung. It is about a 90-minute flight from Yangon to Kawthaung.

Ministry of Hotel and Tourism statistics show that 346,586 tourists landed at Kawthaung Airport and 360,835 tourists visited Tanintharyi in 2016.

Up to April this year, 137,090 tourists had arrived at Kawthaung and 140,847 in the whole region.

Tanintharyi’s tourism development committee hopes that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will lend a helping hand in the upgrade of Kawthaung Airport to boost regional tourism, committee vice secretary U Kyaw Min Htin said.

“Tanintharyi regional government is holding discussions with the IFC as well as other international development organisations because the development and upgrading of an airport needs international business partners,” he said, adding, “The airport cannot make a profit, but it can support regional growth.”

Union Tourism Minister U Ohn Maung said at a recent ASEAN Tourism Forum that his ministry had conducted ground checks at Kawthaung and agreed to an upgrade.

“The Myeik archipelago is very beautiful, with islands that offer many activities like swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling. The natural beauty will certainly attract more visitors,” he said.

To support tourism growth in the archipelago, the Tanintharyi tourism development committee was formed, headed by one of Myanmar’s successful entrepreneurs, Serge Pun. He is the chair of First Myanmar Investments and the Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings.

Many Thais take day trips to Tanintharyi and the Myeik archipelago, outnumbering European tourists.

U Kyaw Min Htin said, “I believe that the IFC or another international organisation will support Tanintharyi’s tourism development, which will help boost regional as well as national incomes.

“Environmental conservation and implementation of a sustainable ecosystem are also in the works but will take about three years.”

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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