A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
1st May 2012
Tourism to the Asian country is rapidly rising since the boycott was lifted in 2010, but how can travellers ensure their trip is ethical?
After the lifting of the 15-year tourism boycott, visitors are flocking to Burma and it's becoming increasingly easy to do so; companies that had previously been boycotting Burma have rushed to add it to their brochures. In fact, Wanderlust reported in March that tour operators have been 'unable to cope' with the upsurge in interest. As Burma becomes more accessible, questions about travel turn from the practicalities to the ethics of responsible tourism.
There have been concerns that tourists' spending money isn't reaching the ordinary Burmese people and instead funding the government. So how can Burma-hungry travellers ensure their travel stint is responsible? It's not feasible to avoid financing the government completely as everything has a 10% tax, but there are a few steps that visitors can take to ensure their stay has the best possible affect on the local community.
Mark Watson from the pressure group Tourism Concern spoke to Wanderlust on the topic: “Those wishing to visit Burma in solidarity with the people – either as individuals or in small groups – are now welcomed. People (should) travel independently and ensure that they stay in small, locally owned accommodation, making use of available advice on regime-owned establishments, and using only independent guides.”
Tourism Concern has a wealth of information on their website, listing which companies are actively helping the local community and which hotels are independently owned. The pressure group also advises to eat, shop and sleep in the small, family-owned establishments.
However, the National League for Democracy (NLD) states that a boycott on mainstream package tours and other large tourism operations, such as cruise ships, should remain. Mark explained this was because such tourism is of limited social and economic benefit to most Burmese, while potentially accruing greater revenue for the ruling party and their cronies.
Wanderlust editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes, who visited in September 2011, said, "At the moment, tourism is very much a positive force - the locals want intelligent, caring travellers to visit. As long as you travel with a responsible specialist tour company, as I did, or independently, you will be helping the country, not harming it,"
A golden future for Burma? Wanderlust's founder, Lyn Hughes, visits the country for the first time... More
Check out our Burma travel guide for trip inspiration and advice | Plan a trip... More
Burma 'unable to cope' with new-found popularity News... More
Dispatches: TV presenter Simon Reeve visits Burma | Interviews... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Burma travel guide, including map of Burma, top Burma travel experiences, tips for travel in Burma, plus where to see the most jaw-dropping temples of Bagan
Marco Polo called it ‘one of the finest sights in the world’; you voted it ‘Top City’ – Nick Boulos discovers why Bagan is a winner in any Myanmar itinerary
Forget Mandalay, never mind Bagan – for a real Burmese adventure, head south to meet the ‘sea gypsies’ of the wild, undiscovered Myeik Archipelago
Dazzling pagodas, mouth-watering food, tantalising market stalls – life in Burma’s fascinating former capital truly feels golden, says Phoebe Smith
Travellers looking for a room in Burma will have to look to its hotels, as the country's government bans homestays in a bid to preserve local customs
AirAsia has plans to launch a daily flight to Burma/Myanmar's capital city, Naypyidaw, starting in October
Plans are in motion to establish a tourist police force in Burma to protect and guide travellers within the country
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
Experience the real sounds of Romania - Save £50 per booking
Save 5% on travel insurance with Insure & Go
Save £5 off every Visa with The Visa Machine
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too