Tourism Thrives In Myanmar Despite Rohingya Crisis

Despite international condemnation over the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State called by the United Nations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, Myanmar continues to be a travel hotspot with popular destinations such as the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and the temple-filled town of Bagan. The country’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism recently announced tourist arrivals rose by 18 percent last year to 3.44 million visitors even though travel isn’t advised in the north of Shan State and Kachin State due to ongoing conflict while foreigners are not allowed to visit Muslim communities in Rakhine State without a permit. Questions have been raised if it’s ethical to vacation in Myanmar during the refugee crisis and whether the money spent is in any way funding the military operations but tour operators remain confident that tourism can operate in an ethical way and provide economical benefits to the local communities.