BAGAN, 19 December 2019: The World Heritage town’s original hot-air balloon experience is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The first balloon ride lifted off above the historic pagodas 31 December 1999
“Balloons Over Bagan pioneered a vision of portraying Myanmar history at a time when the country was unknown to most travellers,” said parent company Memories Group’s CEO Cyrus Punof.
“Sailing through the skies in these burgundy balloons has become a once-in-a-lifetime experience for thousands of international visitors from around the world, and will continue to be for decades to come, but most importantly it has contributed hugely to the local community, including our staff, many of whom have been with us since we first began.”
There were eight passengers on board the first flight and another eight ground staff supporting the inaugural flight, none of whom had ever seen a hot-air balloon before.
Move on 20 years, and 17,500 flights later, the Balloons Over Bagan operates an average of 12 hot-air balloon flights daily and employs more than 200 ground crew.
“Following the huge popularity in Bagan, in 2013 we introduced balloons at Inle Lake, and in January 2020 we will launch in the picturesque town of Loikaw in northeastern Myanmar,” said the current general manager U Tun Thura. “And in all that time, we have never had any accidents or injuries,” he claimed.