This week, we draw attention to:
The Challenges of Burma’s Thriving Tourism: Burma’s tourism plan, the Green Economy and World Responsible Tourism Day.
The second forum on sustainable economic growth will be held in Naypyidaw,Burma from November 13-15. Environmental experts, 80 from abroad and 20 local, will gather to discuss a wide variety of topics from enabling policies and strategies in the energy, water, or food security sectors, to natural resource management, forestry and sustainable and responsible tourism – key elements for Burma’s future.
Another noteworthy step in Burma’s tourism future is the “Norway-backed tourism master plan,” which is expected to be completed by the end of March.
A team of experts from Thammasat University’s Centre of Innovation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, have already started studying and analyzing tourism destinations in Myanmar. These tourism planning and cultural heritage management experts will focus on the challenges borne when a country long closed to the outside world, experiences a sudden growth in tourism.
One of the priorities is to ensure that such development does not come at the expense of environmental protection or of the country’s cultural heritage. Accordingly, “Minister for Hotel and Tourism U Htay Aung stressed the need to manage tourism responsibly and to avoid “killing the golden goose.”
This extremely rapid expansion of tourism is seen everyday, evidenced by news headings such as Yangon airport receives 2,000 tourists every day. And it is far likely that this growth is expected to continue in the coming months. Indeed, “The number of tourist arrivals in October is 20,000, more than in September” said an official from theYangon International Airport.” Interestingly enough, the number of business visitors and leisurely tourists visiting Myanmar has been rising at an equal pace. As outlined in former posts, this expansion is not without problems and requires sensitive handling. One such challenge is the potential risks and problems caused by congestion in the main nternational airports.
Another evidence of this growth, “the number of Japanese tourists travelling to Burma in the first seven months of the year has doubled compared with 2011, according to a report by the Japan Times.” It is encouraging news but it still only accounts for just five percent of the total 242,370 foreign tourists who entered Burma in the same period.
The next article is about “World Responsible Tourism Day and Awareness of Child Sex Tourism,” a matter that should be taken very seriously but which is often set aside since “when most of us in the global north think about going on vacation, we usually have images un our minds of sun-soaked beaches, cold beers, tropical breezes, rest and relaxation.”
In this article, the author, Canadian Michael Soncina, explains what the International Bureau for Children’s Rights is doing to put a stop to child sex tourism and what the travel and tourism industry can do to raise awareness.
Citing Costa Rica as an example, he describes how the country has chosen to respond to the increasing number of websites promoting Costa Rica as a destination of choice for sex tourism, by working with NGOs and government representatives. They have begun “to work hard to combat this image and this issue.”
It is important for the travel industry to continue playing a major role in raising awareness since ultimately, it is the tour operators and airlines that provide the first point of contact to travelers. As service providers of accessible travel, they play a big part in indirectly linking potential child sex tourists to their chosen destinations.
These potential child sexual offenders will take advantage of their anonymity as well as the socio-economic inequalities in the country they visit. To address such an unbearable situation, “the UN and various partners have come together to create ‘The Code,’ “a global partnership tool to stop sexual exploitation of children and adolescents related with travel and tourism […] which consists, [among other things] to train staff to recognize and appropriately deal with signs of potential child sex tourism in their presence”.
We strongly encourage you to read more of this article.
Have a good week.