The responsible tourist is of no specific age, occupation, race, class, religion or other demographic. The responsible tourist comes to the country armed with background knowledge and understanding of the complexities surrounding the political climate and social issues. The responsible tourist supports human and animal rights. The responsible tourist supports the local community and economy in every way possible. The responsible tourist views travel as an educational experience for themselves and for their host communities and as an opportunity to share information and engage in a true cultural exchange. The responsible tourist doesn’t support any form oftourism – especially childtourism, instead the responsible tourist speaks out against it. The responsible tourist has a firm commitment to the environment. The responsible tourist supports the value of local customs and cultures, which includes being sensitive in their own actions and dress code. The responsible tourist tries to make a positive impact in each and every action.
Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world, but it is also one of the most destructive. Contextualised to Burma where possible, the below bullet points give an overview of the problems tourism is often responsible for.
Conflicts over resources: According to the United Nations, the average tourist uses as much water in 24 hours as a third-world villager would use to produce rice for 100 days. This water is used for drinking, baths and showers, in some cases swimming pools and golf courses, fountains and landscaping. In the context of Burma, this is a major developmental issue. According to the UNDP, most areas of Burma lack access to a year-round supply of clean drinking water and domestic water, due to distance, the dry season or pollution. Water quality is generally not tested or assured, which leads to widespread water-borne diseases. In addition, sanitation awareness is generally low, and hygienic latrines are not common.
On the flip side, tourism as a development tool can have good potential. Contextualised to Burma where possible, the below bullet points give an overview of some positives of tourism.
Creating employment opportunities: Direct employment opportunities include ownership, management and employment in tourist hotels, restaurants, guided activities, providing transport, porter services, selling of handicrafts andsouvenirs. Indirect employment opportunities refer to the supply of goods and services that support tourism establishments, for example the food and suppliers for restaurants; the furniture to outfit guesthouses and hotels; the fuel used for transportation.
The examples of the positive and negative impacts on tourism , as shown in the previous pages, differed in two main regards. The positive impacts were generally based around actions by individual, responsible tourists. The negative impacts were generally based upon lack of forward planning in areas frequented predominantly by mass-tourists, or at least by tourists in large numbers. However, those statements are generalizations as both forms of tourism can have their unique and situational impacts, both positive and negative, upon the communities, culture and environment.
“. . . your excuses will no longer be accepted. I count on you as ambassadors for sustainable tourism and as responsible individual tourists to give tourism and the destinations the future they deserve.”
- Nico Visser (promoter of the concept “destination for generations”)
Voices for Burma feels that it is not enough to purely consider the political front when deciding whether or not to visit Burma. With climate change a reality and globalisation making the world more interconnected, the debate on tourism to Burma needs to be turned up a notch. In your decision whether or not to visit Burma, we feel that you also need to take into account the environment, and social and cultural responsibility. This section arms you with facts about responsible tourism, so you can decide whether or not your visit to Burma will be a positive one – not only for the Burmese people, but also for the environment and culture.
source : CNN February 20.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – The tourism industry thinks it can make the magic of Myanmar – golden pagodas, ancient cities, sarong-clad people – a more potent lure than the calls for a protest of this military-ruled nation.
Business people maintain that lackluster marketing, few international air links and bureaucratic hassles rather than political activists have held Myanmar back from becoming one of Asia’s top tourist destinations.
By GARY WALSH Thursday 26 April, The Age
The issue of travelling to Myanmar is fraught with complexities – merely using the name Myanmar instead of Burma is sometimes construed as a political statement.
In the same way that the Khmer Rouge renamed Cambodia as Kampuchea during their reign of terror, SLORC (the State Law and Order Restoration Council) changed Burma’s name to Myanmar in 1989.
Hugh & Colleen Gantzer The Economic Times – May 13.
THERE is the image and then there is reality. We braved the image to discover a reality that still casts its spell over us. The image of Myanmar is that of a rigid, military ruled state, full of grey, morose, people. The reality is delightfully different.
We flew into the capital Yangon, which most of the world still knows as Rangoon, from Calcutta, which some people now call Kolkota. We breezed through customs and immigration in their international airport, once they had established that we were travel writers and not political journalists.We drove down clean, disciplined streets to our ship-turned-hotel, berthed on the Yangon river.
Burmese people want freedom from a brutal regime, not tourists, argues European MEP Glenys Kinnock The Times, Wednesday May 9.