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
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
4th March 2012
An upsurge of interest from travellers wanting to visit Burma this year, is piling the pressure on tour operators to provide more trips
After a 15-year tourism boycott, Burma is officially back on the world-tourism radar. In fact, the country was named by Wanderlust as one of the hottest destinations for 2012 and won fourth place in 'Top Country' in our annual Travel Awards.
However, now travellers are beginning to head back to the country, tour operators are finding it difficult to keep up. Ashley Toft, managing director of tour operator Explore, commented that they have been 'overwhelmed' by the demand for their tours of Burma.
In response the company has added an extra 70 departures to their trips to the country to cope with demand.
Lyn Hughes, editor-in-chief of Wanderlust visited the country last year. She added: "I'm not surprised at the massive interest in going to Burma. Previously, many keen travellers, myself included, felt uncomfortable about going, given Suu Kyi's request for a tourism boycott. This inevitably led to a pent-up desire to visit.
"It's wonderful that we can now feel free to travel there, and Burma rewards the discerning traveller in spades. However, there is still a limited infrastructure, and it would be terrible if there was a rush to develop the country in an insensitive manner.
“I would strongly advise travellers to go off-season if possible – when they'll have the accommodation and sights to themselves, and prices are also much lower."
Facilities for tourism are relatively rudimentary and shortages of guides and hotel rooms, especially in the capital Yangon(Rangoon), have been reported. Recent changes include the country changing its official currency exchange rate to be in line with the previous unofficial rate, and banks being allowed to open exchange counters at airports and elsewhere.
Last year the National League for Democracy (NLD), the political party of activist Aung San Suu Kyi, softened its stance on tourism saying it would welcome visitors: “who are keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment and to acquire an insight into the cultural, political and social life of the country.”
Ms Suu Kyi herself said in interviews that 'individual tourism' would be welcomed, provided that tourists avoid any activities and facilities that are directly associated with or fund the military government.
Although visitors are on the increase, Myanmar is still a small player on the south-east Asian tourism scene. The country welcomed 300,000 overseas visitors in 2011 (including approximately 5000 from the UK), compared to 19 million visitors to Thailand.
Tourism to Burma on the rise, but UK travellers still wary | News... More
A golden future for Burma? Wanderlust's founder, Lyn Hughes, visits the country for the first time... More
The politics of Wanderlust Lyn Hughes questions whether Wanderlust should feature Burma... More
Check out our Burma travel guide for trip inspiration and advice | Plan a trip... More
Will you travel to Burma? | 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
The way into Burmese culture lies within a loosely-packed cigar, says Wanderlust reader David Higham
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
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.
30% discount off Elisabeth Smith Traveller’s Series
Antarctica Within Reach
Exclusive Far East & Exotic Special Offers from Princess Cruises. Include Flights & Hotel Stays
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