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Myanmar hails UNESCO Status for Indawgyi Lake and expects more Unesco sites to be announced in the future
The Ananda temple in Bagan – possibly the next not to be missed Unesco World Heritage site?
Yangon, Myanmar, 28 July 2017 – In yet another nod to the huge potential of tourism in Myanmar, UNESCO has designated Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State—the largest freshwater lake in the country and the third largest in Southeast Asia—as a Biosphere Reserve. The recognition is the second of its kind for Myanmar. In 2015, Inle Lake in Shan State was granted UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status for its ecological importance.
Spanning over an area of 133,715 hectares, the Biosphere Reserve of Indawgyi Lake includes the lake and the surrounding wetlands and forest to a distance of about 15 kilometres. Indawgyi Lake is also home to more than 160 bird species—some of which are globally threatened water birds—as well as turtle species, endemic fish, mammals, reptiles and primates. Every year in the fall, migratory birds from as far as Siberia find solace around the area within Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary.
Indawgyi is not the only site in Myanmar recognized by Unesco. Up till now only the Phyu Ancient cities (the remains of three brick, walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra are listed as World Heritage site thanks to efforts from the Myanmar government these site shave been listed since 2014. Unesco is of course known as well for The World Heritage List (presently comprising 721 exceptional cultural and natural sites in 124 countries) including some of the world’s greatest tourism destinations, ranging from the Taj Mahal to Machu Picchu and the banks of the Seine in Paris, from the Great Barrier Reef to Sagamartha and Kilimanjaro).
Lesser known are the 3 “memories of the world” which include the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines in Mandalay, the Myazedi Stone Inscription in Bagan which includes an inscription in four languages, Pyu, Mon, Myanmar and Pali, on each of the four sides of the column and the The Golden Letter from 1756 of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain.
“Myanmar Tourism Marketing is of course hoping that other places around Myanmar will soon receive Unesco Heritage status, just as Indawgyi Lake recently got recognised” says Myanmar Tourism Marketing Chairperson Ma May Myat Mon Win “as more international recognition will help showing the world how much cultural and natural beauty this country has to offer”.
Tourism authorities in Myanmar and Cambodia announced last month that they will launch a joint action plan aimed at boosting tourism industry of the two countries, the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said on Thursday.
Cambodia recently got a third temple complex listed as World Heritage Site and the country have seen how much benefits this recognition can bring to the tourism industry. The famous Angkor Wat temples are often compared with the temple site of Bagan and receive world heritage status in 1992. Nowadays Angkor Wat receives over 2 million tourists a year (compared to 280.000 tourists visiting Bagan in 2016).
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