Hotels in Bagan’s protected zone in limbo

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The Myanmar government is deciding between granting special exemptions or demolishing some 25 hotels that have been illegally built in the protected area of Bagan.

Hoteliers Left in Limbo in Bagan
The Irrawady, 22 August 2016

The government remains undecided on whether to grant official approval to unsanctioned hotels that were built in Bagan’s famed archaeological zone without the permission of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.

Existing laws prohibit commercial buildings in Bagan’s archaeological zone but for 25 hotels that have already been built, the ministry is debating whether to allow or demolish them, said Aye Ko Ko, director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, at a press conference on the ministry’s 100-day plan in Naypyidaw on Friday.

“According to the law, hotels, motels and guesthouses can’t be built in archaeological zones unless the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture approves. This approval cannot be authorized by local authorities or our department,” said Aye Ko Ko.

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Hotel developments in Bagan on hold

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The Myanmar Department of Archaeology reports that a number of hotel developments around and near the Bagan temples are on hold while the site is being prepare for Unesco World Heritage nomination. This is welcome news especially since zoning requirements in the temple areas have not been enforced until recently.

Bagan hotels on hold
TTR Weekly 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.”

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Bagan ‘limbo’ hotels given 10 years to move

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Special zone for hotels in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160318

A large problem of the management of the Bagan temple heritage landscape is the number of hotels situated very near the temples. Now, they are given 10 years to move to a special zone and away from the temples.

Special zone for hotels in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160318

Special zone for hotels in Bagan. Source: Myanmar Times 20160318

Bagan ‘limbo’ hotels given 10-year edict
Myanmar Times, 18 March 2016

In a major blow to Bagan’s “limbo” hotels, the city has decided that within 10 years all hotels will have to move to a special zone.

The decision will particularly hit the owners of 42 hotels, inns and guesthouses, some of them still under construction, that have been anxiously awaiting a decision on their status.

All Bagan hotels will have to relocate to a specially designated hotel zone 4, located beside the Bagan-Kyaukpadaung road, after 10 years, said Sai Kyaw Ohn, deputy minister of hotels and tourism and a member of the Heritage Management Committee.

“That’s enough time for them to recover their investment, though some may lose out. But we can’t allow hotels in the Bagan heritage zone,” he said, adding that the decision had been accepted by the current government.

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Myanmar selectively acts against properties encroaching into Bagan sites

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View from the Aureum Palace Hotel. Source: Myanmar Times 20150825

Myanmar has begun to pursue legal action against properties that have encroached onto the Bagan heritage areas, but have notably left out a number of prominent hotels. The action is ostensibly so that the complex can be listed for Unesco World Heritage status, but the question to whether this measure is effective remains to be seen.

View from the Aureum Palace Hotel. Source: Myanmar Times 20150825

View from the Aureum Palace Hotel. Source: Myanmar Times 20150825

Many big-name Bagan hotels left off encroachment list
Myanmar Times, 25 August 2015

The government has named 11 buildings in Bagan that are facing charges for flouting cultural laws but the list contains none of the well-known luxury hotels whose construction has violated the same regulations.

The action is being taken as Myanmar wages a campaign for the ancient city to be included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, which officials said they hoped to achieve by 2017.

U Nyein Lwin said some hotels are also escaping scrutiny despite ignoring a Ministry of Culture directive in May 2013 to limit construction to three storeys, which was revised in August 2014 to a two-storey limit.

“After these changes were made, there were people who continued building in violation of the new regulations,” U Nyein Lwin said. “Some of those who stopped are still facing prosecution, but some bigger hotels that kept building despite the laws have now opened. Our department must follow through on prosecutions according to the orders of our superiors.”

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Myanmar plans action against hotels on Bagan grounds

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Source: TTR Weekly 20150511

Following a round of consultation with Unesco, the Myanmar Ministry of Culture is hoping to work with hotels in Bagan whose property is encroaching the heritage zone. Some demolition may be involved.

Source: TTR Weekly 20150511

Source: TTR Weekly 20150511

Bagan plans heritage clean up
TTR Weekly, 11 May 2015

Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture plans to take action against hotels built illegally within Bagan’s ancient city and temple complex.

It could result in some tourist hotels being demolished if the local government acts, but officials are reluctant to cross swords with former military junta leaders, who still wield considerable influence.

Mandalay Region government officials told Myanmar Times that the culture ministry is considering legal action against some hotels very shortly.

“The law for ancient culture protection has already been adopted by the Ministry of Culture. Some hotels in Old Bagan are in the ancient heritage zone and are now under scrutiny,” the source said.

Full story here.