The Prachuab Khirikhan Governor, Mr. Weera Sriwattanatrakul, has asked Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) and the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Thailand to consider opening the Singkhon Checkpoint before Myanmar launches its general election campaign. The checkpoint opening will promote Prachuab Khirikhan as a very important economic gateway of ASEAN. The Governor added that both Thai and Burmese investors have been looking forward to the opening of Singkhon Checkpoint to facilitate their investment, business and tourism. The checkpoint cannot be officially opened until the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Thailand and Myanmarsign a border certification agreement, said the Governor of Prachuab Khirikhan. This is a sensitive issue for both countries despite the currently active business negotiation in the area. There is no border dispute between the two countries especially in the Singkhon Checkpoint area. Delays in the checkpoint opening may see business opportunities being lost.
“Singkhon Checkpoint should be open in June at the latest. After then Myanmar will have a general election and we have to wait for the new government of Myanmar to decide on bilateral business with Thailand. The earlier the opening, the better for Thailand,” explained Mr. Weera, adding that the Prachuab Khirikhan Provincial Office had already campaigned for the opening to facilitate business between Thailand and Myanmar and allow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proceed further on the border certification agreement between the two countries. “After the checkpoint is open officially, Prachuab Khirikhan will become an important gateway for trading and business in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Weera.
The checkpoint could accommodate the entrance and exit of many Thai and foreign visitors to and from Thailand and Myanmar, enabling Prachuab Khirikhan to grow as much as 10%. In 2015, Prachuab Khirikhan is expected to earn as much as 40 billion THB, a bigger amount than in 2014 with the Province receiving 30 billion THB from a total of 5 million Thai and foreign tourists. “Even though the Singkhon Checkpoint hasn’t opened yet, some investors have already bought land in the area for profit speculation. Many new hotels have been constructed nearby and in the lower part of the Province,” said Mr. Weera. “Now, there are approximately 20,000 rooms available at all hotels in Prachuab.” Myanmar would be pleased if Thai investors do business there, especially in Marid Archipelago which has 600 small islands. In the next 10 years, many of the islands will become tourist destinations, so Thai investors should have hotels or resorts built there as soon as possible. Finally, the Prachuab Governor concluded that some Thai investors in the Province had already done business in Marid, including the 5-star Pearl Laguna Hotel. Additionally Burmese business people have built hotels there, such as the Royal Jade Hotel.