February 17, 2019
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
Vatican defrocks former influential US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse

Rome, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- The Vatican has defrocked a former cardinal who had been one of its most influential representatives in the United States as part...

Distrust of vaccines leads to massive measles outbreak in Philippines

Manila, Feb 16 (efe-epa).-A widespread distrust of vaccines has led to a serious measles outbreak in the Philippines, where nearly 7,000 cases and more than...

Democratic leaders in Congress call Trump's national emergency unlawful

Washington, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- Democratic Party leaders in the US Congress this Friday called unlawful President Donald Trump's decision to declare a...

Salvadoran woman accused of having abortion freed pending new trial

Ilopango, El Salvador, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- A young Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for allegedly aborting her child was released here Friday...

Trump declares nat'l emergency to build wall on US-Mexico border

Washington, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday with the goal of bypassing Congress and securing billions of...

Theft of precious bonsai worries cultivators in Japan

Tokyo, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- Japanese cultivators are despairing over the future of stolen bonsai plants, several of them hundreds of years old, from nurseries...

South Korean poet loses defamation suit in sexual abuse case

Seoul, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- A Seoul court on Friday dismissed a defamation suit filed by a revered South Korean poet against a young female poet, who had...

Curfew in Indian Kashmir after terror attack sparks protests

Srinagar, India, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- A curfew was imposed in the Jammu region of Indian Kashmir on Friday after violent protests erupted, following a deadly...

Japan to recognize Ainu community as indigenous, end discrimination

Tokyo, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- The Japanese government on Friday approved a bill aimed at recognizing the country's ethnic Ainu minority as indigenous people...

Minas Gerais dam collapse leaves 305km of river contaminated in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- At least 305 kilometers (190 miles) of the Paraopeba River in southeastern Brazil have been polluted following the...

Parkland remembers victims of school shooting one year on

Parkland, USA, Feb 14 (efe-epa) - The community of Parkland, Florida, commemorated on Thursday the school shooting one year ago that tragically ended the...

Indonesian companies still owe $1.3 billion in fines for their slash and burn

Jakarta, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- Eleven Indonesian agricultural and logging companies still owe the state nearly $1.3 billion in compensation for civil cases in...

Mexico to relocate 120 CentAm migrants to non-border northern cities

Piedras Negras, Mexico, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- The Mexican city of Piedras Negras, which borders on the United States, on Thursday announced that it will...

White House confirms Trump to sign budget bill, will declare nat'l emergency

Washington, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- The White House on Thursday confirmed that President Donald Trump will sign the budget bill to be presented to him by...

Afro-Brazilian artists carry on slain activist Marielle Franco's struggle

Sao Paulo, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- A cement staircase in a trendy district of this Brazilian metropolis serves as a memorial to a slain Rio de Janeiro city...

US policies, pressure behind suffering in Venezuela, gov't official says

UreƱa, Venezuela, Feb 13 (epa-efe).- The "economic siege" that the United States has imposed on Venezuela is responsible for the "hardships" that Venezuelan...

Protecting Mexico's golden eagle suffering from lack of funding

Mexico City, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Although it is a symbol of Mexico immortalized on the country's flag, protecting the golden eagle is suffering from a severe...

Bolsonaro's elite level of medical care inaccessible to most Brazilians

Sao Paulo, Feb 13 ((efe-epa).- Rightist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged here Wednesday from one of Latin America's premier hospitals after...

#MeTooUyghur: Relatives seek proof-of-life videos from China

Beijing, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Ethnic Uyghurs living in exile have launched their version of the #MeToo social media campaign, demanding information on their...

Philippines launches urgent immunization drive amid deadly measles outbreak

Manila, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Philippines authorities made passionate appeals for parents to vaccinate their children as the government launched a widespread...

Indonesian government forces Instagram to close pro-LBGT account

Jakarta, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Popular social network Instagram on Wednesday suspended an account which published comics discussing the problems and acceptance...

Australia to reopen detention center on Christmas Island

Sydney, Australia, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- The Australian government announced on Wednesday the reopening of its Christmas Island Immigration Detention Center...

Mexican hospital uses toys, therapy dogs to comfort critically ill children

By Mariana Gonzalez

Trump sows doubts about Congress pact to avoid gov't shutdown

Washington, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Tuesday sowed doubts about the pact reached in Congress to avoid another partial shutdown of the...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.