August 19, 2016

Prosecution will face revelers visiting southern Myanmar island

The invaders seen reveling.
The invaders seen reveling.

TOURISM enterprises running transportation services to southern Myanmar’s Bote island, located in Launglon township of Dawei district and well known for its beautiful coral reefs, will be prosecuted in accordance with the hotel and tourism law, according to the Dawei district Department of Hotels and Tourism.
A Ministry of Home Affairs (MOA) document dated 7 September 1999 reveals the famous Bote island of Launglon township was officially ceded to the Mawyawaddy Navy Base, effectively prohibiting travel to the island by non-naval personnel.
“People weren’t allowed to travel to Bote island in the past. But, will the financial prosperity gained by the region from travel enterprises, some have been allowed. That’s all been shut down now though.” said U Naing Win, head of the Dawai district Department of Hotels and Tourism.
The Tanintharyi regional government reiterated on 22 March 2015 that travel to Bote island was forbidden, as it constituted military owned land, after the Dawei district Department of Hotels and Tourism made a submission the previous January as to whether private travel was permitted to the island or not. As such, the aforementioned department issued an official statement on 4 April 2016 announcing travel to the island was forbidden, with legal action in accordance to the hotels and tourism law, which warrants a maximum prison sentence of three years and a fine of K50,000, to be taken against anyone found to be in infringement of the law. U Naing Win also denounced news, which spread on social media, of officials from the department accepting money to turn a blind eye on instances of some local residents using their own boats to break off coral from the island’s water and sell during the Thingyan festival.
“We heard news of some fishermen, not vested with a great deal of intellect, from breaking off coral and selling it. They don’t realize the implications of their actions to the environment. Environmental awareness education initiatives need to be carried out on these kinds of people.” said an individual from the Sky Light tourism enterprise.
This year has seen the Dawei tourism industry become more developed as a result of Bote island, but those official involved in the industry say that legal action should be taken against unlicensed tourism operators which offer transportation to the island.
An offshore natural gas pipeline passes by Bote island approximately 25 miles away from the island, while an average of a thousand tourists visited the island everyday during the Thingyan holiday period.


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