The historical site of Bagan with over 2,200 pagodas and stupas continues to attract more visitors for the beginning of the year. Over 200,000 foreign and local visitors came from January to April.
More than 235,329 local and foreign visitors entered the archeological site of Bagan in the first four months of 2018, according to Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. According to data collected by the Ministry, the historical site welcomed 488,241 local and foreign visitors in 2016. Numbers jumped 580,562 in 2017 up by 18.9%. For 2018, Bagan expects to welcome 700,000 visitors.
Income earned from hotel room rentals totalled US$13,618,243 in 2016, US$9,914,553 in 2017 and US$3,719,660 in the first four months of 2018.
To cater to visitors, four hotels zones have been established with 85 hotels with 2,919 rooms.
Growth is likely to accelerate due to the possibility to inscribe Bagan into UNESCO World Heritage List. The Myanmar government officially submitted Bagan last September. it was the first official attempt after 22 years.
According to the Ministry of Religious Affair and Culture to the newspaper The Myanmar Times, “Bagan expresses the traditional culture, civilization, arts, architecture in Buddhism, belief in Buddhism and traditional religious festivals [which are still taking place today] dating back to the 11th century to 13th century,” U Than Zaw Oo, director of the division of world heritage sites explained.
Another important event is the upgrading of Bagan airport. The project is supported by the Japanese government who provides a grant of US$42 million for technical support for the upgrade of Nyaung-U airport in Bagan.
“The grant is due to arrive this year for the upgrade. Once finished Nyaung-U airport will be able to serve regional flights as the airport will be equipped with customs and immigration facilities as well as new security screening. The launching of international flights -particularly to Bangkok- could then turn into a reality in 2019 and significantly contribute to Bagan popularity among foreign travellers.