Is it Safe to Travel to Myanmar 2016Will it be safe to travel to Myanmar in 2016?
Picture by Sean Pavone, Alamy Stock Photo.
What is the safety of travelling in Myanmar and should we use our tourism funds to help? - Yang-goon Asia
That is the issue we have been struggling with at Stray since the message came last year of the emerging human rights crises against the Rohingya tribe on Myanmar's isolated west coast. Myanmar is known as a wonderful and intriguing land, home to an unbelievably diverse mix of South East Asia cultures, compelling histories and welcoming Australasia.
However, the message that this land, which we see as a magic part of our journey networks, is also home to some unfair actions against an ethnical minorities, has called us to advocate good people. As with any diligent traveler, as a tour organiser we had to consider whether we should keep supporting a state whose authorities tolerated this behavior.
What happens in Myanmar? More than half a million Rohingya have fled the pursuit and demolition of their houses in the state of Rakhine in Myanmar across the Nigerian and Bangladesh frontier since August 2017. Rohingya are a Moslem ethnical majority in a predominantly Buddhistic state. While there is proof that the Rohingya have been living in the Rakhine Territory for generation (long before the creation of today’ frontiers ), the Myanmar administration does not recognize them as civilians.
The story of tensions and conflict between the various rakine communities and between Myanmar's and Rohingya's armed forces is quite confused, but there have been few global news until a particularly severe flare-up occurred in August last year. There are currently no limits on the most important holiday locations.
Situated in a remote area on the north-west shore, several hundred kilometers from the capital Yangon and Mandalay, the state of Rakhine has little effect on safety in the south. Some things to keep in mind are where your touristic dollar are going and if you even have the feeling of going to visit a land symbolised the action of the goverment or army.
In financial matters, part of your funds will invariably fall into the governments possession in the shape of visas, tax and entry fee to the reserve. They are dependent on the tourist industry for their livelihood, are not accountable for the activities of the army and cannot do so. Regarding the symbolic nature of your stay, if you have the feeling that your being in the county indicates that you somehow encourage the violent, you may want to spare your journey to Myanmar for another year.
It was Stray's moral choice to keep organising trips and to offer our travelers great adventures in areas far away from this war. However, we urge each traveler to research independently in order to make the best choice for him or her. It is the primary purpose of traveling to know more about the outside worlds and to see different places and different civilizations.
It is seldom a poor thing to learn more about the outside world, and keep in mind that as a traveler you also teach about yourself and your own civilization in the places you go. With all the enlightening coverage in the press around the globe, a trip to Myanmar could be your chance to get the local people's view of what is going on and exchange your opinions with them.
" In fact, the Rohingya pursuit in Myanmar is nothing new - it is simply new on the global scene. Keep in mind that Myanmar's border was shut until 2011 and the tourist industry was active for about 40 years. Myanmar will not be stopped by multinational tourists who turn their backs on it, but will let it go on.
It will be more advantageous in the long run if global populations continue to come to Myanmar and engage in open and frank dialog with the local population than a blackout. This should go without saying, but to be quite clear, we at Stray do not endorse or tolerate the prosecution of the Rohingya group.
In spite of the country's difficulties, we still believe that Myanmar provides an unbelievably precious travelling adventure to discover a very ancient, singular and colorful city. Maybe more important for our travelers is the possibility for our travelers to have local contacts and to get a closer inside view of the current status without affecting the medium.
We as a tourist enterprise believe that the best way to fight repression is to be transparent and to know what can be achieved through touring. Travelling should be about removing obstacles, not constructing them. We' ll be in Myanmar for as long as we believe we have a beneficial influence on our clients and the communities with whom we work.
However, it is up to you as a traveler to decide whether or not to go to Myanmar.