NLD ‘welcomes responsible tourism’ in Burma: - lifts ban members update

MEDIA RELEASE: 27 May 2011

NLD ‘welcomes responsible tourism’ in Burma: - Responsible Travel responds by lifting its ban on Burma-based vacations

A statement released by The National League for Democracy (NLD) last Friday was reported yesterday in The Irrawaddy newspaper under the headline ‘NLD Welcomes Responsible Tourism, But Warns Against Abuses’.

In response, Responsible Travel announced it has lifted the ban on Burma-based vacations from its website but urges the travel industry to act with care and avoid 'irresponsible' tourism development in the region. It also urges the Burmese Government and newly formed Burmese Tourist Board to work with the NLD and local people to put a responsible tourism plan in place.

The article - with the subheading 'correction appended' - marks a bizarre 360 degrees u-turn for the newspaper, after having reported on the very same statement on Tuesday with an article entitled 'NLD Condemn Tourism in Burma'. The piece received severe criticism via the paper's forum and has subsequently been removed from the newspaper's website and replaced with a more favourable interpretation of the NLD statement.

The party's statement last Friday said:

"The NLD would welcome visitors who are keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment and to acquire an insight into the cultural, political and social life of the country while enjoying a happy and fulfilling vacation in Burma."

Responding to this invitation for responsible tourism and tourists to Burma, Justin Francis, founder and managing director of Responsible Travel said:

"Right from our start in 2001 we've upheld a ban on tourism to Burma based on the request made by Aung San Suu Kyi for tourists not to visit. I am aware that many tourism businesses, of all types, are now keen to develop tourism in Burma. The message from Aung San Suu Kyi is clear - she only wants respectful tourism and is interested to see responsible tourism develop in Burma. So we are welcoming to our collection those Burma vacations and companies who operate responsibly in the region and work to establish deep connections that benefit local economies and preserve cultures against the potential harms of tourism.

“Small scale locally owned tourism could benefit the country's people economically and help to increase cultural and political awareness overseas which could only be a good thing for democracy in Burma. However, we must avoid the juggernaut of exploitation that mass, unplanned and unrestricted tourism can bring to destinations at all costs. I would urge the Burmese Government and newly formed Burmese Tourist Board to work with the NLD and local communities with an interest in tourism, to ensure that responsible tourism sets the agenda in the region.”

For further comment, interviews, electronic copies of the NLD statement or the original Irrawaddy article please contact Responsible Travel at or on 01273 648519


Notes to editors
Responsible Travel is the world's leading company for responsible vacations. In 2011 the company celebrates its 10th birthday and has sold $100million worth of vacations since it launched. The site works with over 1,000 tourism suppliers to help market over 4,600 richer, deeper and more locally distinctive travel experiences that are better for destinations and local communities.

Whether you're after an action-packed adventure, a relaxing beach escape or a charming countryside getaway closer to home, there's something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Co-founder, Justin Francis launched the site with backing from Dame Anita Roddick in 2001 and since then has been included in Courvoisier’s The Future 500, Thames and Hudson’s 60 Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future and taken his place on the Advisory Board of The International Centre for Responsible Tourism at Leeds Metropolitan University. Based in Brighton, England, Responsible Travel also campaigns for positive change in the travel and tourism industry. is's online travel community website. The site offers local travel secrets to travelers throughout the world. Post questions in the free Q & A section - answers from people with real local knowledge are guaranteed, swap your tips and ideas, upload photos and blogs from your travels and look for companions for your next trip.

Krissy Roe or Alex Lyons
01273 648519

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