December 14, 2018
Latest News

Mergui's hidden paradise could revive Myanmar's fledgling tourism

Nga Khin Nyo Gyee, Myanmar, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of white, coral sand beaches with crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation, spread over some 800 islands in the Andaman Sea, remained undisturbed on Friday, the only signs of life being lines of wandering hermit crabs.

Less than a dozen of these idyllic islands in the Mergui archipelago in southern Myanmar are populated and that too sparsely.

It is only now that the islands with all their tropical splendor are emerging as the vanguard of Myanmar's fledgling tourism industry after the country remained closed to the outside world for more than half a century.

"The hermeticism (of the country's former military regime) kept this region away from the outside world. Most of these islands have never been explored so there are many possibilities of finding unique species," Georgie Aung, a member of Project Manaia, a marine research organization, told EFE.

Manaia's marine biologists are mapping the region for a better understanding of the colorful coral reefs and help in the preservation of the archipelago, known as Asia's last tourism frontier.

Myanmar's transition to democracy has opened the doors for the development of the tourism industry in the country that saw a million visitors in 2017, a figure that may repeat this year.

But the lack of infrastructure and heavy military presence along the borders has kept the region out of the tourist circuit despite being virtually a stone's throw away from Thailand's coast.

"It is necessary to inform in advance about the routes of the itinerary and hand over the identifying data of the travelers (to the border authorities) for their approval," said Min Oo, a guide and former member of the army.

Passage and navigation is restricted in at least 30 islands due to the presence of army bases.

"Mergui shares its southern border with Thailand, which makes it a hotspot for smuggling or human-trafficking," Min Oo said.

Half a dozen exclusive hotels on these islands offer accommodation to few adventurous travelers.

"The Myanmar authorities must learn from the Thai experience and develop a sustainable tourism industry to preserve the archipelago," said Bjorn Burchard, a Norwegian who owns a hotel on the island.

Burchard, who arrived in the country a quarter of a century ago, managed to lease part of the island three years ago for 50 years to set up his ecological hotel complex.

"We use the natural resources of the island for bungalows, solar energy for operation and biodegradable products to leave minimum ecological footprint possible on the island," the 61-year-old hotelier said.

By Noel Caballero

News history
Vast Iberdrola solar park means more clean energy for Mexico

By Marti Quintana

Russia Central Bank raises interest rates in effort to stem risks

Madrid, Dec. 14 (efe-epa).- Russia's central bank raised its key interest rate for the second time in four months in a surprise decision Friday that aims to...

China to suspend additional tariffs on US vehicles

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- China will suspend additional tariffs on vehicles and automobile parts made in the United States for three months starting...

OPEC crude basket drops to $58.67

Vienna, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The basket of crude oil used as a benchmark indicator by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to $58.67, the...

Sterling falls as UK PM makes little progress in EU talks

London, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- Sterling falls after UK Prime Minister Theresa May failed to secure meaningful concessions from European Union leaders for her...

French economy likely slowed in December; PMI data underwhelms

Madrid, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- French economic growth likely ground to a halt in December as businesses reported widespread disruption as a result of weeks of...

Hong Kong stocks close 1.62 percent down

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Hong Kong stock exchange's benchmark Hang Seng index on Friday fell 1.62 percent, or 429.56 points, to close at 26,094.79...

Australia signs $35-billion contract to build 9 new frigates

Adelaide, Australia, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Australian government on Friday signed a $35 billion contract for building nine Hunter Class frigates for its...

Shanghai stock close down 1.53 percent

Shanghai, China, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Shanghai Stock Exchange's Composite index closed on Friday with a decline of 1.53 percent, or 40.31 points, to stand...

Seoul stocks close 1.25 percent down

Seoul, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Seoul stock exchange's benchmark KOSPI index closed on Friday with a decline of 26.17 points or 1.25 percent to end at 2,069.38.

South Korean president names 16 new vice ministers

Seoul, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The South Korean president on Friday named 16 new vice ministers, including a new vice minister for finance.

Tokyo stocks close 2.02 percent down

Tokyo, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- The Tokyo Stock Exchange's benchmark Nikkei index on Friday declined 441.36 points, or 2,02 percent, to end at 21,374.83.

China's industrial output growth slows down to 5.4 percent in November

Beijing, Dec 14 (efe-epa).- China's industrial output grew 5.4 percent year-on-year in November, five decimal points below the rate registered in October,...

Japan's business confidence remains stable

Tokyo, Dec 14 (efe-epa) - The confidence of Japan's large manufacturing companies in the performance of the country's economy remained stable in the fourth...

LatAm nations back strengthening energy integration

Montevideo, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Government ministers from countries belonging to the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) on Thursday backed...

Bread is the latest item in short supply in Cuba

Havana, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Long lines at bakeries, murmured complaints on the street but fiery ones on the social networks and, finally, an official...

Greenpeace protests against Brazil's planned auction of Amazon oil blocks

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Greenpeace on Thursday staged an attention-grabbing protest against Brazil's plans to auction off oil blocks in the...

Branson's space-tourism company rockets out of atmosphere for first time

Los Angeles, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space-tourism venture, reached the edge of space in a test flight Thursday, four years...

ECB cuts growth forecasts as It ends bond-buying program

Frankfurt, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The European Central Bank cut its economic growth forecasts Thursday, highlighting the risks confronting Europe's economy even...

Trump: Mexico will pay for wall thanks to new trilateral trade deal

Washington, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States insisted Thursday that Mexico will ultimately pay for a border wall he has pledged to...

ECB affirms plan to stop bond buys at end of month, rates unchanged

Frankfurt (Germany), Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The European Central Bank on Thursday, as expected, affirmed its plan to bring its program of monthly asset...

China, Colombia agree to protect interests through multilateralism

Beijing, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The foreign ministers of China and Colombia met Thursday in Beijing and reaffirmed their commitment to boost bilateral...

UK gambling industry signs up to TV advert ban during sports events

Madrid, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom gambling industry has agreed to a package of restrictions on advertising during sports events, including a...

EU invests $24 million to promote clean energy in the Philippines

Manila, Dec 13 (efe-epa).- The European Union announced on Thursday that it had signed seven investment projects with the Philippines worth 21 million euro...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.