Govt mum on re­lo­ca­tion of ho­tels in Ba­gan zone

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - EI EI THU DE­CEM­BER 8, 2017

De­spite UNESCO’S ad­vice on the re­lo­ca­tion of ho­tels and build­ings in the Ba­gan her­itage zone in 2013, the gov­ern­ment has yet to act on the sug­ges­tion.

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THE gov­ern­ment is yet to de­cide on what to do with the ho­tels in Ba­gan her­itage zone, even as the UNESCO has been sug­gest­ing their re­lo­ca­tion since 2013.

“UNESCO sug­gested the trans­fer of the ho­tels and build­ings in her­itage zone to other places since 2013, but no ac­tion has been taken yet,” UNESCO’S na­tional project of­fi­cer Daw Ohn Mar Myo told The Myan­mar Times.

While lo­cal res­i­dents in the area were suc­cess­fully re­lo­cated to another place, the rul­ing Tat­madaw in the late 1990s al­lowed the con­struc­tion of new ho­tels and build­ings within the Ba­gan his­tor­i­cal her­itage zone.

Ba­gan could be listed as a world her­itage site by UNESCO’S World Her­itage Com­mit­tee dur­ing its meet­ing in 2019 if the gov­ern­ment can prove that it has suc­cess­fully pre­served the site.

For that, the Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Na­tional Mu­seum un­der the Min­istry of Reli­gious Af­fairs and Cul­ture has been pre­par­ing the nom­i­na­tion dossier for many years.

The depart­ment com­pleted the Ba­gan man­age­ment plan last month, which is part of the nom­i­na­tion dossier. The plan in­di­cated that ho­tels and build­ings have to be re­lo­cated to another place.

UNESCO ad­vised the gov­ern­ment to al­low ho­tel own­ers to op­er­ate in the area for 10 or 15 years so they can re­coup their in­vest­ment.

“We only men­tioned to re­lo­cate seven prom­i­nent ho­tels,” Daw Ohn Mar Myo said. “Other ho­tels can con­tinue op­er­a­tions as long as there are no an­cient pago­das and her­itage build­ings in the ho­tel com­pound.”

She said UNESCO has been dis­cussing re­lo­cat­ing the ho­tels since the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion of U Thein Sein, but no ac­tion has been taken yet.

“We haven’t taken any ac­tion yet on the ho­tels be­cause these were con­structed un­der the wrong man­age­ment,” said U Aung Aung Kyaw, direc­tor of Ba­gan’s Depart­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy and Na­tional Mu­seum. “We need to find out the best way to re­solve this is­sue,”

“We will de­cide about that is­sue af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing with re­lated de­part­ments such as the Min­istry of Ho­tels and Tourism, the re­gional gov­ern­ment and ho­tel own­ers,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, among the ho­tels it in­tends to re­lo­cate af­ter 10 or 15 years are the Ba­gan Thiripy­it­saya Sanc­tu­ary Re­sort, the Ho­[email protected] Gate, Ayar River View Ho­tel, Ba­gan Thande Ho­tel, Amaz­ing Ho­tel, Aureum Palace Ho­tel and Hil­ton Ba­gan Ho­tel owned by Eden Group, which is still un­der con­struc­tion.

At present, there are 85 ho­tels with 2910 rooms in Ba­gan Re­gion, of which the Ho­[email protected] Gate and Ba­gan Thande Ho­tel are the state-owned ho­tels un­der the man­age­ment of the Min­istry of Ho­tel and Tourism.

U Myo Win Nyunt, direc­tor of the Min­istry of Ho­tel and Tourism, said the min­istry rented out Ba­gan Thande Ho­tel to lo­cal busi­ness­man U Kyaw Sein for 20 years from 2002, while the Ho­[email protected] Gate was rented to U Aung Kyaw Nyunt for 30 years from 1994.

“We will obey the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion if they want to re­lo­cate the ho­tels,” U Myo Win Nyunt said.

For­mer state-owned ho­tel Ayer River View has been sold to a lo­cal busi­ness­man, Man­dalay Re­gion Hlut­taw MP U Win Myint Khaing said.

The Eden Group is con­tin­u­ing the con­struc­tion of Hil­ton Ba­gan Ho­tel and is ex­pected to open it in 2019, U Chit Khine, chair of Eden Group, said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ba­gan ar­chi­tec­ture in­ven­tory, there are 22 an­cient pago­das in the com­pound of the Hil­ton Ba­gan ho­tel.

Daw Ohn Mar Myo said UNESCO ex­perts will con­duct on­site in­spec­tions to check whether the in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted by the gov­ern­ment matches what they see on the ground.

“The ex­perts will re­port the fi­nal re­sults to the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee. The com­mit­tee will make a de­ci­sion whether Ba­gan should be listed,” she said.

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