Scorching temperatures dry up Bagan tourist

Pagodas being seen without tourists.
Pagodas being seen without tourists.

EXTREMELY high temperatures this summer, the result of the infamous El Niño weather front, have caused shrinking numbers of foreign tourists to visit Bagan during the Thingyan holiday period, according to the Bagan Region Development Association (BRDA).
Last April, temperatures ranged between 41-42 degrees centigrade, on average, while temperatures this April have peaked at unbearable heights of between 44 and 45 degrees.
“Travellers to Bagan during Thingyan this year have been thin on the ground. The weather has been ever so hot, even hotter than last year. We haven’t seen a complete nosedive in the tourism market though; April is peak tourist season, after all,” said U Khin Maung Nu, chair of the BRDA.
Foreign tourists annually visit the region during the Thingyan holiday and participate in Bagan traditional customs of water throwing and dancing.
“Destinations in Myanmar such as Bagan see fewer tourists during the Thingyan period than other parts of the country. Now is a good time to visit areas like Bagan as they are less crowded with other tourists. The presence of pilgrims in Bagan during Thingyan gives the place a certain feel, too,” said Huge Schleicher, managing director of Jovage Myanmar.
Scorching temperatures this Thingyan period have seen the majority of both local and
foreign tourists opt for coastal destinations such as Ngwe Saung and Chaung Tha beaches, together with the southern Myanmar towns of Dawei and Myeik.
Over 240,000 tourists visited Bagan in 2015, while this year has seen a drop in the numbers of package tours and trips to the region via river vessels.

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