Chinese businesses moving into Bagan

Chinese nationals are starting businesses in Bagan, buying or renting hotels and restaurants, since early this year, according to local tourism and restaurant businesses.

The proposal to list Bagan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was submitted in 2018, could be one of the reasons for the interest, according to the businesses.

Chinese nationals mainly target restaurants and hotels in new Bagan and have booked about four restaurant and hotels in the area this year, according to the Myanmar Restaurant Entrepreneurs Association in Bagan.

“Among my acquaintances, two restaurants have been sold. Some hotels have been booked for several years,” said U Khin Maung Htwe, association secretary.

“The Chinese seem to come in groups. They need to be regulated to follow the rules and not to spoil the region’s name,” he added.

Although the restaurants in Bagan are open year round, they rely mainly on tourists.

Due to high labour and operating costs, restaurants are difficult to sustain in the long run, thus renting these establishments to the Chinese could be good for the owners, local businesspeople said.

“Both good and bad come from the influx of Chinese tourists, but they can’t be denied entry to the country,” said U Zaw Wait, president of the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association for the Bagan cultural zone. “Myanmar has laws, but they are loosely enforced.”

Hotels in Bagan mostly sell food to foreign visitors, but they also book hotel rooms through Chinese travel agents to ensure a steady stream of customers, added U Zaw Wait.

He said that although there haven’t been any “zero-dollar” tourists in Bagan yet, rules should be imposed to protect local businesses against them.

“It is important that the influx of Chinese tourists doesn’t affect Bagan. Some Chinese tourists come to restaurants in groups and make a lot of noise, which annoys many customers. Some foreign customers don’t want to come in the restaurant because of their noise,” said one person at Lamin Thit Restaurant in Bagan Myothit who preferred anonymity.

About 5000 Chinese tourists entered the Bagan cultural zone in February, and Chinese visitors top the list of tourists in Bagan, according to the Department of Hotels and Tourism.

Source: Myanamr Times

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