Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar with thousands of Buddhist temples and stupas dotting the landscape—and a place that I was lucky enough to visit last December—has put a halt on new hotels while the government applies for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Its first application, in 1996, was rejected on grounds that the boundaries were not defined and the administration’s management strategy was lacking. According to the DVB website, “the use of modern materials and a lack of adherence to the original architectural style in maintenance work over time has invited criticism from UNESCO.” There are currently 75 hotels and guesthouses across four zones, with 17 new hotels under construction. With more and more tourists visiting Myanmar, the country needs to carefully consider how it handles its development—and working to protect this incredible destination is a step in the right direction.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.