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Myanmar: Tourist development caught in Bagan building ban


Authorities are clamping down on buildings infringing on the Bagan temple complex south of Mandalay, in a move to conform to standards compliant with a World Heritage Site designation.

Guesthouses, homes and hotels built earlier with government permission have been caught in the tighter standards and told they will not be allowed to operate, in some case.

Around two dozen hotels or guesthouses in historic Bagan were told they could finish construction, authorities said, but they will not be allowed to accept guests and only permitted to function as a private residence, according to the Bagan Heritage Management Committee.

Citing a World Heritage Listing from UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture is now enforcing a 2014 ban on properties deemed too close to the ancient pagodas, according to a story in the Myanmar Times last week.

Complicating the issue are dozens of hotels built before a 1998 law was enacted banning development inside cultural heritage sites. Others were allowed later in contravention of the law, some by businesses with links to the regime. Some owners cite official permission to build obtained from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum.

Earlier this month, 129 properties were given a 10-year edict to move to a special hotel zone.

Many property owners are submitting petitions asking the President’s Office to reconsider orders of the Bagan Heritage Management Committee’s directive, and other government agencies.


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