Travel Guides and the Burma Debate

Tourism in Burma is a subject of much debate these days, with a grassroots tourism boycott
gaining mainstream support as many tourism companies and multi-nationals pull out of the country, also know as Myanmar
since a military coup put a brutal regime in power in 1988.

The Burmese democracy movement, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has asked that tourists not visit
Burma because it helps fund the regime and because forced labor and child labor is used to develop tourist sites and
infrastructure for tourism. Human-rights watchdog The Burma Campaign UK has published
Dirty List of companies they
claim support the military regime in Burma by encouraging tourism. And there are some pretty familiar names on the
list: Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Trailblazer all publish guides to Burma. The
Campaign also maintain a Clean List of companies with a positive ethical position on Burma; it seems Rough Guides
is the only popular publisher to make the grade, with a pretty
smart statement on their reasoning.

Happily, according to the clean list, we can all still shop at IKEA.