Ngapali, the former top beach in Southeast Asia, plunged to number 25 in the 2017 ranking of the top beaches of the world by American travel and restaurant website Trip Advisor.
Travel and tours executives warn against over development, as Ngapali attracted increasing numbers local and foreign tourists because of its crystal clear waters and beautiful natural scenery.
According to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism statistics, the numbers of tourists going to Ngapali rose to more than 50, 000 in 2017 from only over 4, 000 in 2016. Domestic travelers who visited the place increased to over 39, 000 from 27,000 within the same period.
“This rating is made by satisfied customers who came and visited to Ngapali. It is very important issue when the tourists are coming to visit the country,” U Ye Tun Oo, CEO of Vivo Myanamr travel and tourism management company told The Myanmar Times on Wednesday.
Ngapali is one of the most important tourist attractions in Myanmar after four major destinations such Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan.
The increasing the number of domestic travelers to Ngapali also resulted in the mushrooming of shops along the beach. There is also increase in waste and garbage that found into the sea and impacted on, U Ye Tun Oo said.
“There shouldn’t be much shops along the beach site. Myanmar is high-end market so the trip expense is high when compared with other neighbouring countries. So the tourist wants the value for money they spent and doesn’t like such kind of situation and services because they pay for much,” he said.
The growing number of tourists have led to more developments in Ngapali, including increase in the number of fishing boats, increase of vendors in beach sites, and more restaurants, hotel and guests houses have mushroomed in recent years according to U Ye Moe Aung, an officer from department of hotel and tourism in Thandwe told The Myanmar Times.
“This also means increase in garbage and waste,” he said. ”The place is getting noisy too.”
Presently, there have 35 hotel and guesthouses with 1, 300 rooms in Ngapali according to the Department of Hotel and tourism in Thandwe.
“When local travelers increased, they drink the alcohol and ate the food at the beach at night then sing a song. The noise disturb the tourists,” U Ye Moe Aung said. “The increasing number of restaurants, hotel and guesthouses will also impact the beach because of most of these establishments dig the sand from the beach areas to build their properties.”
The township municipal does not have the capability to collect the increase rubbish at the beach because of lack of personnel and equipment, he added.
He also called on concerned authorities to take action against those who dig the sand in the beach as it is against existing laws.
“The drop in the rating did not only affect Ngapali beach but also impacted the image of country,” U Ye Moe Aung said. “We need to have strong management organization together with relevant department and stakeholders. Then we can keep watch of the developments in the beach.”