Voyages Jules Verne (VJV) has announced the relaunch of its tours to Burma (also known as Myanmar), following the reopening of tourism to the country. The move has been endorsed by the Free Burma movement.
Burma was the winner of the Wanderlust Travel Award 2011 for Best Emerging Destination. This award recognises countries that were visited by relatively small numbers of Wanderlust readers during the last year, but which gained very high marks from those who did go. Burma holidays emerged at the top of the pile and is a country that, in the past six months, has gone from being the world’s most controversial travel destination to, potentially, its most exciting.
Voyages Jules Verne is pleased to be able to offer again comprehensive 14-night tours to Burma, including the remote cities of Mandalay and Pagan (Bagan) on the banks of the Irrawaddy, and Rangoon (Yangon). Travellers looking to enjoy Far East holidays can take in the breathtaking sights that Burma has to offer including the amazing Pagodas of Pagan. Those taking part in the tour of Burma with VJV will get to enjoy a private candle-lit dinner at an exclusively reserved pagoda in Pagan.
David F. Pattison, Head of Product and Marketing at VJV said: “We were delighted to hear that Aung San Suu Kyi had recently given her blessing to the return of tourism to Burma but we still considered our position carefully before deciding to return to the country. There will always be differing views about Burma but it is now felt that the controlled entry of visitors will now help create and sustain jobs for locals and boost the private economy. With communication and information previously restricted, Burma is now more exposed to the outside world and opens up the possibility of two-way exchanges between foreign visitors and the ordinary Burmese people.”
It was 15 years ago that Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, first called for a tourism boycott as a way of denying foreign currency and moral legitimacy to the country’s military dictatorship. That 1996 declaration - vigorously upheld by pressure groups worldwide, including British organisations Tourism Concern and Burma Campaign UK - meant that any visit to the country was fraught with ethical complexity.
Following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest in November 2010, the NLD announced that they were no longer opposed to all tourism, but only to large-scale package tourism.
Senior NLD leader U Win Tin said: “We want people to come to Burma, not to help the junta, but to help the people by understanding the situation: political, economic, moral - everything. But to have a very big cruise ship with hundreds of tourists coming in - that’s a lot of money for the regime, and so we don’t like such big business.”