UK tour operators are sending clients to hotels and resorts in Burma that fund the country’s military dictatorship and are blacklisted by the European Commission, says campaign group Tourism Concern.
More than 20 tour operators continue to arrange travel to Burma, renamed Myanmar by its military junta, despite EC trade sanctions in place since 2000. These were last updated a year ago and restrict trade with enterprises owned or controlled by the regime or by persons associated with it.
Burma is ruled by generals who suppressed an elected government two decades ago and broke up pro-democracy demonstrations last September. The regime has reportedly displaced more than one million people to make way for tourism projects and used forced labour, including child labour, in their construction
Tourism Concern is pressing the UK government to tighten and enforce the restrictions. Director Tricia Barnett said: “It is the responsibility of tour operators to ensure they abide by European legislation and do not provide financial benefits to the military dictatorship.” She added: “Tour operators should not provide misleading information to the public about their ethical credentials.”
Among the tour operators Tourism Concern accuses of supporting the regime through tourism are Audley Travel, Trans Indus, Abercrombie and Kent, and Bales Worldwide. The tour operators maintain that travel does not benefit the regime, but helps its people.
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