Reacting to the National League for Democracy’s recent, and long-overdue, thumbs-up to responsible tourism, the website responsibletravel.com decided to lift their own boycott on travel to Burma, with founder and Managing Director Justin Francis stating:
“I am aware that many tourism businesses, of all types, are now keen to develop tourism in Burma.” (emphasis added)
I cannot remember a time when Burmese tourism businesses, of any type, were not keen on developing tourism, and so it might have been more accurate to say:
“I am now aware that many tourism businesses, of all types, are keen to develop tourism in Burma.”
In their 2006 article ‘Is it ethical to travel to Burma?‘, responsibletravel.com were careful to note that there are those who oppose the boycott on various ideological, economic and pragmatic grounds. However, the website decided to uphold their boycott anyway, because Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had voiced “a wish that should be respected”. The website has now lifted its ban, citing various ideological, economic and pragmatic reasons, but above all, the “clear” message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as its motivation.
Truly, as one U.S. economist recently told my parents at an embassy function in Rangoon, “Aung San Suu Kyi is bigger than this room. In fact, she is even bigger than Burma.”
Dr Aung Si currently resides in Canberra. His parents, U Aung Nyein and Daw Than Than Nu, were candidates for the Democratic Party (Myanmar) in Burma’s November 2010 election.