BAGAN, 17 June 2016: Over 40 hotel projects in the Bagan Ancient Cultural Region have been delayed since 2013, while their construction permits are reviewed.
Global New Light of Myanmar quoted Department of Archaeology director, U Zaw Zaw Htun, saying the department was reviewing the situation.
“The answer will only be realised once we’ve completed our negotiations with UNESCO for the recognition of Bagan as a World Heritage site… this impacts on the hotels’ future. For now, we’re still discussing possibilities.”
Myanmar Times also reported that guesthouses, mostly modest establishments of 10 to 12 rooms run by locals are too close to Bagan’s famed temples, a factor that could put at risk the city’s bid to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage listing.
As a result, the Ministry of Culture has reinstated zoning restrictions that were originally introduced 1998 but lacked enforcement. Earlier this year, 129 properties deemed to be operating too close to the ancient site were given a 10-year grace period to move to a special hotel zone, including 42 mom-and-pop guesthouses.
Last March, the Bagan Heritage Management Committee said 25 hotels still under construction could open, but would not be able to accept guests. Of that 16 hotels have licences issued by Nyaung-U City Development Committee and they may be exempt from the heritage management committee’s ruling.
Bagan hopes World Heritage site status will be awarded in 2017.
Bagan is an ancient city located in Mandalay Region, built between the 9th and 11th centuries, during an era when some 55 Buddhist kings ruled the Bagan Dynasty.
According to the most recent records, the Bagan Archaeological Zone covers about 42 sq km (16 miles) and has more than 3,000 pagodas.
Bagan Tour Guide Association estimates international visitor arrivals to the ancient city could reach 500,000 by 2018, double the visits of 2015.
Myanmar has nominated 14 sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List, including Mandalay’s ancient kingdoms and Mrauk U in Arakan State. So far, only the ancient cities of Pyi have been added to the prestigious list.