Nine local and foreign companies have been granted by the Myanmar Investment Commission to build more hotels in the Myeik archipelago in southern Tanintharyi region.
According to local directorate of hotels and tourist Sunday, the new hotels will be built on 12 islands of the archipelago.
There are more than 800 islands in the region, of which 140 islands are popular among visitors as well as investors.
Visitors are mostly from neighbouring Thailand, currently accounting for 250,000 out of a total of 300,000 foreigners who visited the region last year, according to official statistics.
Over the first five months of this year, foreign travelers to the region reached 160,000. This is a huge improvement over previous years. They were still only 1,158 foreign tourists recorded in Myeik Archipelago back to 2012, a year after the country opened its doors to the world. Tourism still remains the most promising activity to provide employment opportunities for Myeik’s 140,000 inhabitants. Closeness to Phuket was an added advantage to attract travellers, with a target of receiving a million tourists by the middle of the next decade.
Holiday makers to the Myeik archipelago are found to be interested in ecotourism such as hiking, bird watching, diving, trekking and snorkeling.
The visitors also used to enjoy sightseeing trips on luxury motor boats. However, visitors are banned from touching natural coral reefs and taking the shells of sea snails.
Myanmar expects a total of 3.5 million tourist arrivals this year from over 3 million registered last year.