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Hotels, Guesthouses in Bagan Ancient Cultural Zone Reopen to Visitors

BAGAN-NYAUNGU region attracts a large number of local and foreign visitors yearly and is always crowded with local travellers and tourists. Tourists flock to Bagan ancient cultural zone every year to enjoy the practice of temple climbing – taking beautiful aerial shots of sumptuous sunsets and the famous hot air balloons from a unique vantage point. Temples in Bagan, many of them were built a thousand years ago, are one of the most important collections of Buddhist architecture in the world, and one of the tourist attraction sites in Myanmar. The local government has permitted the hoteliers to reopen some hotels and guesthouses in the Bagan-NyaungU ancient cultural zone in Mandalay Region that were once closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, said U Win Aung, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism under the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Officials from the ministry inspected those hotels and guesthouses to know as to whether they follow the COVID-19 preventive measures or not, and then gave the green light on June 9. “The hoteliers lodged the complaint letters to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to let them allow reopening hotels and guesthouses in UNESCO World Heritage Site Bagan-NyaungU region,” he said. An inspection team led. by the Department of Public Health made a trip to check out as to whether the hotels and guesthouse meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Health and Sports,” he explained. The deputy director continued that, “We compiled the list of hotels and guesthouses that meet the set standard and submitted the list to the General Administration Department and the local government. Hotels are reopened after being sought permission from the local government. Four hotels and four guesthouses are being scrutinized to give permission,” he added. Hoteliers are also prepared to offer better services to the globetrotters in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Sports’ guidelines. The number of tourists entering Bagan NyaungU region is on the decline significantly due to the coronavirus outbreak when compared to last year, said U Zaw Weik, Chairman of Myanmar Hoteliers Association (Bagan Zone). “Tourist arrivals in Bagan Area dropped due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when compared to last year. Also a ban on climbing temples in Bagan was put into effect, visitors used to enjoy sunsets and sunrises by climbing to the tops of the many temples. News of the ban went viral on social media platforms, resulting in a decline in tourist arrivals” he said. Visitors are no longer allowed to climb on some famous sunset viewing spots in Bagan after a powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar in 2016. The businesses in Bagan-NyaungU region such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops are making arrangements to offer better services to local and foreign travellers after they have given permission to run their operation again.   Myanmar’s tourism industry is badly hammered by Covid-19 pandemic and those engaged in tourism-related businesses such as three-wheel, boat, horse-riding, car, e-bike, and motorbike, hotels, guesthouses and souvenir shops are suffering huge financial losses from the Covid-19 outbreak. Tourists used to visit Bagan to observe the temples and stupas and enjoy the sunset. The horse-riding business, motorbike and e-bike rental services, hotels, motels, and guesthouses and souvenir shops earn well in the peak tourist season (from October to February) annually. Those businesses create job opportunities for residents in the area, contributing to improving the socioeconomic status of local people. Bagan ancient cultural zone has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. There are 84 registered hotels and guesthouses with a capacity of 6,000 rooms in Bagan ancient cultural zone. Majority of tourists to Bagan-NyaungU region come from China, France, Japan, UK, United States, Germany, Thailand and Korea. Bagan ancient cultural zone welcomed 280,000 foreigners in 2017 and attracted over 300,000 tourists in 2018. Tourist arrivals in Mandalay Region were registered at 385,031 in 2016, 483,784 in 2017, around 490,000 in 2018, and over 500,000 in 2019, according to data compiled by the ministry. Source: New Light of Myanmar


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