Maw Taung border gate in Myanmar-Thailand border is seeing less tourists and it need to open permanently to attract the tourists, according to officials and traders.
Trading and tourism sectors through Maw Taung border gate have restrictions as it is a special temporary border trade post in Thailand side. Myanmar opened the border gate as a permanent border trade post in 2013 and Thailand opened Singkorn border post as a special temporary border trade post in 2015.
Tourists from countries outside of Thailand cannot come through Maw Thaung-Singkorn gate as it is a special temporary border trade post.
“Only Thai citizens are allowed to cross to here with border pass and temporary border pass. It’s the same with Myanmar citizens. More than 400 Thai citizens visited here using temporary border pass and over 80 Thai citizens visited here using border pass. There are lesser tourists in the rainy season. Transportation is also bad. People living in the villages around Maw Taung went to work in Thailand. Most Thai citizens that comes over are here for pilgrimage. They usually visited Myeik. The border pass holders can stay three nights and four days in Thailand. Myanmar allowed Thai citizens to stay 13 nights and 14 days for border pass holders and six nights and seven days for temporary border pass holders,” said Maung Maung Kyaw, an immigration officer from Maw Taung border post.
Although the border trade post is important for economy and tourism sectors, it is running many losses. Thailand said they need approval from Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar for border demarcation before the gate is opened as a permanents border trade post.
“It is about three-hour drive from Mahachai. And seven million tourists visited Hua Hin annually. If ten per cent of them visit Myanmar through the border gate, it will bring benefits for the tourism industry. It can develop Myeik district, Taninthayi region more,” said Chairman Hla Than of Myeik district traders and industry association.
Poor transportation, lack of recreational places and low trade activities are weaknesses for Myanmar.
“In my opinion, there are market days in Thailand and we don’t. If we can do them as wel, more tourists will come here for shopping. We need to make transportation good also. Tourists want to visit Myeik as it has some sightseeing places. Some tourists turned back as roads are bad in rainy season,” said Maung Maung Kyaw.