South East Asia Travel Tips

These notes from responsibletravel dot com are about Myanmar/Burma but could well be applied most anywhere, especially the neighbors in South East Asia.

“Tourism must tread very carefully in Burma; responsibletravel.com’s 2 minute travel guide (http://www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/burma) explains why:

It does not bode well for tourism that it values highly the places where it has had the least impact. Burma is essentially an untouched, tourism clean slate and care must be taken to ensure the industry sets out on the right, sensitive and responsible foot.

Burma still has a non-democratically elected government and human rights abuses continue. Tourists and tourism organisations should be aware and do all they can to ensure they are supporting the military junta as little as possible, but as all locally run guesthouses and restaurants etc pay taxes it is impossible not to fund the government in some way. Extra care therefore must be taken to ensure as much tourism money as possible ends up in local hands.

Bad tourism practises will take hold quickly if unchecked. Already Kayan women, famed for their elongated neck, are migrating to popular Inle Lake to earn a living from tourism, where they are photographed in a form of human zoo.

Even the most seasoned traveller will need to remind themselves that they are in a country unused to Western tourists, and the impact of an incorrectly calculated tip, a bare shoulder or refusal of food will be much greater than Burma’s more tourism-weary neighbours.

It may be depicted as a pristine wilderness but deforestation is a huge problem in Burma. Responsibly run tourism projects can offer a sustainable alternative to logging and poaching. It is important these are set up carefully and are well supported.

Read more: http://m.digitaljournal.com/pr/2058734#ixzz37kIT45y0

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