Much touted ‘Rakhine Tourism’ riddled in restive Myanmar
Saleem Samad of DOT
The much publicized Rakhine tourism and infrastructure development as promising sectors for investment has faced fresh crisis, after a new spate of violence between the Tatmadaw (military) and the ethnic armed group Arakan Army.
Myanmar is currently working to list Mrauk-U as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the destination has been dropped by tour operators after Arakan Army and Myanmar soldiers fighting near the historic site.
Ngapali Beach and the Mrauk-U ancient cultural area are famous tourist destinations in the Rakhine, but because Mrauk-U is difficult to access, tour operators mainly focus on arranging trips to Ngapali and cancels trips to Mrauk-U.
Due to renewed fighting between soldiers and ethnic insurgents travel to Mrauk-U during the Thingyan holidays, has become difficult to arrange such trips for Thingyan festival. Thingyan is the Burmese New Year Festival that usually occurs in middle of April, writes the Myanmar Times, published from Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
Rakhine State is rich in natural resources and has potential as a transit route to China from the Indian Ocean.
The conflict in Rakhine State, Myanmar has seen fewer tourists from western countries in recent years.
Nearly a million Rohingya Muslims fled northern Rakhine to Bangladesh since late 2017 after a crackdown by the military, which followed attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
In light of the atrocities in the region, the UN-mandated Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar (UNFFM) recommended that tour operators ensure their operations are compliant with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) when conducting business in Rakhine.