Memories Group makes first acquisition in Myeik as tourist interest rises

Mr Serge Pun, executive chairman of Singapore-listed Memories Group, has bought luxury yachting business Burma Boating in Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, for K1.3 billion from Tint Tint Travel and Tours Company and Freepier.

It is the first acquisition for Memories Group since the company listed on the Singapore Exchange in January and marks the first step forward under its strategy to build a diversified tourism platform in Myanmar.

Burma Boating, which drew revenues or around $1 million last year, is a well-known luxury yachting company established in 2014 in the Myeik Archipelago, which is in southern Myanmar. Following the acquisition, Memories Group will now take ownership of Burma Boating’s flagship 85-foot Meta IV yacht, the ‘Burma Boating” brand as well as existing partnerships, contracts and bookings.

“Given its luxury service and tour experience, the acquisition of Burma Boating represents an exciting opportunity for Memories Group to broaden its experiences portfolio and enlarge its footprint in the Myanmar tourism industry,” Mr Pun said in a statement.

Myeik potential

Located in the Andaman Sea, the Myeik Archipelago consists of more than 800 islands of various sizes and is noted for its untouched beauty. The area was earmarked by the government as the third tourist destination of Myanmar last year, after Bagan and Inle.

Importantly, the government has also taken steps to improve access to Myeik, which is about a 17-hour drive, or a 1.5-hour flight, from Yangon. Work has already been scheduled to upgrade Kawthaung Airport so that it is able to receive international flights. Meanwhile, Myanmar and Thailand are also planning to construct a road linking Thailand to Tanintharyi through the Htee Khee border.

Since then, tourist interest in Myeik has risen and the number of activities available for traveler has grown. Besides its own yacht, Burma Boating also partners with seven other yacht owners’ vessels, of which six are classic sailing yachts and one is a historic motor yacht, to offer private charters. Rates for a whole boat start from $ 2,000 per night for a 3-cabin yacht to $7,200 per night for a 6-cabin yacht.

Other tourism operators have also been active. Elegant Myanmar Travel, for example, which has been offering dive packages on the Mergui Princess Cruise liveaboard from Kawthaung, has extended its activities to Dawei. The company now also offers kayaking, snorkeling and fishing at affordable prices.

More hotels

Accommodation options are also on the rise. United International Group, owner and operator of Amata Hotels in Myanmar, will this year open two hotels at Bo Yar Nyunt island and Bar Lar island in Myeik. The two new hotels in Myeik will have 20 and 30 rooms, respectively, U Win Aung, group CEO of United International Group, told The Myanmar Times in January.

Financial support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the construction of the two hotels is also expected. The IFC is now supporting the Tanintharyi Development Committee. The committee, which is also chaired by Mr Pun, is backing the upgrading of infrastructure and development of sustainable tourism in Myeik.

Meanwhile, to meet rising demand for cheap accommodation from domestic travelers to the region particularly during the festive seasons, the regional authorities will also provide village stay options at Don Nyaung Mhaing village in Myeik, Ma Kyone Galet Salone village in Kawthaung and San Hlan village in Dawei.

“One building with 10 rooms will be constructed at the San Hlan village before Thingyan in April. Our second priority would be Don Nyaung Mhaing village in Myeik after that is successful,” U Nyo Aye director of the Hotel and Tourism Department of Tanintharyi Region told The Myanmar Times.

Against that backdrop, U Phyo Wai Yarzar, managing director of tour agency Diethelm Travel told The Myanmar Times on Monday, reckons Myeik will likely develop into a thriving tourist destination within three years. “We will be offering more package tours to Myeik then,” he said.

According to Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, there were 39 hotels and guest houses with 1,525 rooms in Tanintharyi Region in January. The region received almost 350, 000 international visitors in 2017, most of whom came from across the Thai border.

Source : Myanmar Times

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