Aug 15, 2014

New Heritages Promoted in Myanmar

Hotels and Tourism Minister U Htay Aung has urged tour operators to sell trips to three ancient Pyu cities that were recently awarded World Heritage site status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The three ancient Pyu sites are: Sri Ksetra in Bago Region’s Pyay township; Hanlin in Sagaing Region’s Shwebo township; and Beikthano in Magwe Region’s Taungdwingyi township.

Those were recognised by UNESCO for their unique historical and cultural status on 22 June.

The cities, which date back to the period 200 BC to 900 AD, are the first sites in Myanmar to be inscribed on the UNESCO list.

Hotels and Tourism Minister U Htay Aung told local press that the new sites could help to boost tourism.
“I would appeal to travel agents, worldwide, to add them in to their trip plans for the coming season.”

Remains of the palace citadels, brick Buddhist stupas and burial grounds at the sites currently draw around 60,000 local and foreign visitors every year.

Officials are now campaigning for Myanmar’s better-known ancient city of Bagan, home to a sprawling complex of Buddhist temples, to join the Pyu cities on the UNESCO list.

Bagan’s temples, some of which are around 1,000 years old, are one of the country’s most treasured religious sites and a top attraction for foreign tourists flocking to Myanmar.

However, the Pyu sites identified by UNESCO are far from ready to cater to international visitors. Some tour operators raised concerns about transportation and said there was not enough detailed information on what tourist-friendly infrastructures exists to allow them to make intelligent decisions on when and how to package the attractions in tour programmes.

Shan Yoma Travel and Tours managing director, U Hla Aye, said: “At the moment, I don’t know what road conditions are like on the route to Beikthano and Hanlin. We can’t just prepare the trips without knowing the situation in detail.”

He also suggested that the tourism ministry and industry bodies should assist tour operators to gain information on transport, itineraries and hotels, do’s and don’t’s in the region before the agents can prepare the trip plan.


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