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Govt building seaside airport at cyclone scene


October 2, 2008

Myanmar Tourism:
Govt building seaside airport at cyclone scene

Myanmar authorities are building a seaside airport in the southwest region laid waste by a cyclone five months ago, AFP quoted a local weekly paper as reporting Wednesday.

They hope to boost tourism at Ngwesaung beach, in the country's Irrawaddy delta near the Bay of Bengal, 7Day said.

"The hotel authorities in Ngwesaung beach said an airport with an 8,000-feet (2,400-metre) long runway is under construction now at the beach," the paper said.

Ngwesaung beach, opened in 2000, is 240 kilometres (150 miles) from the main city Yangon, in the middle of the area left devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which struck May 2-3 and left 138,000 people dead or missing.

The beach attracts foreign tourists looking for budget deals according to one tour operator.

"Spanish and Italian tourists are more interested in Ngwesaung beach as the hotel rates there are lower than at Ngapali beach," a tour company operation manager told AFP, referring to a beach in Rakhine state already accessible by air and speaking on condition of anonymity.

"But recently the road has been very bad since the Nargis cyclone and because of the rainy season," she said.

Ngwesaung beach has 20 hotels providing 800 guest rooms according to official statistics.

Construction of the airport began in the third week of September, the report said.

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