- New Zealand
- Corfu & the Faraway Islands
- Nova Scotia
- Madeira & Porto Santo
- Poland and Kaliningrad
This list was published by Wanderlust magazine, in collaboration with the Association of Independent Tour Operators, to accompany the December 2008/January 2009 issue of the magazine. And I’m fascinated to know what impact a list published by a leading travel magazine will have on the tourist industry of these countries.
Colombia is opening up to tourism now after years of internal conflicts and violence and such publicity can only be good for the tourist industry there. But Burma? To actively promote Burma as a tourist destination is irresponsible! Shame on you Wanderlust.
They will say in their defense that they did warn people about the situation there: “The decision to visit Burma isn’t one to be taken lightly. The argument over whether tourism protects and provides income for ordinary Burmese people, or simply funds the oppressive regime, continues to rage and must be given careful consideration.” (Source: Wanderlust UNIQUE ESCAPE 2009)
Let me make it easy for you fellow travelers: don’t go there. As a traveler, you have power as to where you go and which economy you will be helping. You have a choice… which is more than can be said for most Burmese people!
Groups promoting democracy in Burma urge tourists to stay away from the country and boycott the junta’s tourist drives. Many travel agents and tour operators have publicly declared that they will not book or operate tours to Burma. These efforts have apparently been effective; the occupancy rate at Burma’s top hotels is under forty percent. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Burma’s democracy movement, agrees that tourists should not visit Burma until there is a restoration of democratic rule. “We think it is too early for either tourists or investment or aid to come pouring into Burma,” she told visitors to her Rangoon residence in November 1995. “We would like to see that these things are conditional on genuine progress towards democratization.” In 2002 Aung San Suu Kyi reiterated her call for a tourism boycott. In an interview with the BBC, she said: “”Our policy with regard to tourism has not changed, which is say that we have not yet come to the point where we encourage people to come to Burma as tourists.” (Source: The Burma Campaign UK)