Recently, the issue of more than 600 long-establish pagodas suffering from poor restorations has become the major concern for both local authority as well as Bagan tour operators.
It can be clearly seen that the sacred Buddhist ancient structures of Myanmar have been noted as the highlights that considerably promote the development of Myanmar tours in general and Bagan’s in particular. However, due to the mismanaged renovation work, this ancient heritage is on the ever- reducing value rate. One of the main reasons causing this catastrophe is that the masons hired for working on this restoration do not have enough required skills to make the reservation better.
In fact, in order to maintain these valuable ancient heritages, the local authority is supposed to spend enough on funding and high-quality materials. Moreover, it is important to hire the best technicians and engineers with a view to preserving the left of the architecture values and styles. However, said U Sun Oo, the default renovation of around 6oo historic pagodas which had been badly affected because of rebuilding them from top to bottom, making those treasured masterpieces to become artificial copy. Then a matter is raised, if there is nothing special about these works of arts, what will enhance the Bagan tours anymore.
One measure has been taken by the Myanmar Tourism Federation to generate better reservation is to collect entrance fees agreed upon by a five-year contract with the former culture minister. Unfortunately, one serious problem facing by conservators is that more than 90 percent of the funding collected from entrance fees has gone to the government, whereas the restoration of this valuable ancient heritage receives only 2 percent, a small number for pagoda renovation.
One more cause that leads to the poor renovation work is the existence of skyscrapers and modern buildings including hotels and golf courses which should have been asked to be relocated by the UNESCO. Conversely, the conservation of ancient pagodas has not been taken into UNESCO’s consideration although they are thought to interfere in tackling this problem. Also, the only thing that the UNESCO cares is to maintain the law on how to better manage and protect the zone of 100-operating hotels in the future. By the same token, the current government similarly demonstrates their view about taking actions against law-breakers.
All in all, poor renovation work has exerted bad influence on Bagan’s tourism. As can be clearly seen, there is an alarming decrease in the number of tourists visiting Bagan (reducing from 247,140 tourists in 2015 to just more than 110,000 in April, 2016 as reported by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism).