Tourism in Burma down after protests

Dec 3, 2007 (DVB), Tourism industry workers in Burma have noted a significant drop in the number of tourists visiting the country this year following the government's crackdown on protests in September.

A hotel manager in Bagan, Mandalay, said that there had been a marked decrease in the number of tourists travelling to Burma compared with last year.

"Normally, this hotel would already be full by this time in previous years, but now, only 20 out of our 80 hotel rooms are occupied," the manager said.

Another hotel manager in Mandalay said that there was a 50 percent drop in the number of tourists compared with other years, but said that he could not talk about the reasons for the decline.

"You know why that is. But it’s not okay for me to tell you," he said.

In Nyaung Shwe, Shan State, a guest house owner at Inlay Lake, blamed the drop on the recent unrest in the country.

"There are still tourists. But the number of customers we receive this year is too low compared with last year , it has dropped to 25 percent of what it was," said the owner.

"This is really bad for us. I think this is because of the problems our country had recently."

Tourism in Burma has been a topic of intense debate between those who believe tourism can benefit the ordinary people in the country and those who link the tourist industry to human rights abuses by the military regime.

Reporting by Nan Khan Kaew

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