If this story is accurate, it is very big news...
Unfortunately it carries no direct quotes, which, given the circumstances, can be tricky, but if true, it is very big news for the nascent Burma tourism scene.
#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,707
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yes somtam I agree, BUT, as stated in the artical open tourism will lead to the junta and its business/friend operations recieving a huge influx of tourist activity. They already gain, (always have) a large amount via the FSE purchase which every incoming tourist must do. The last time I visited, $300us into funny money, (the equivelant of Monopoly and worth just as much). I love Burma and would advise travellers not to forgo a visit but to do it as local as possibel. Which means back packing or finding a local van company to take you. These comps pay a licence to the junta but will take you were you want to go no questions and even advise options on what you have decided.
#2 muzza has been a member since 30/6/2009. Posts: 13
They already gain, (always have) a large amount via the FSE purchase which every incoming tourist must do.'
I thought that there was a way around this.I was considering going in the new year but if this is still the case mmmm!
What are you talking about muzza???
Unless there's been a very recent change, tourists have not had to change any money into FECs (foreign exchange certificates) for years!!!
I certainly didn't when I went there in December 2005.
Yes, FECs (foreign exchange certificates) have been done away with since 2001 or 2002. But I do highly agree with Muzza's point on trying to spend tourists dollars or € or whatever currency with the intent of supporting mom and pop merchants or businesses as much as possible. No doubt, the junta will get it's cut from taxes or because they dominate the larger hotels or tourism related businesses but supporting small places means that more money gets directly into locals hands.
#5 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136
August 2003 actually (I just checked).
Here is a site which gives the pros and cons of visiting Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi's party has been encouraging INDEPENDENT tourists to visit the country for some time. They (and the people) are not so keen on tourists who come on a package deal though.
Sorry about that. Thanks for the correction SBE; just knew it's been quite a few years already.
#7 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136
I didn't know exactly when they stopped making tourists use monopoly money either seagypsy...that's why I checked! Had a feeling it was the year before I went but apparently not. I think they are still legal tender but god knows who uses them.
... err haven't got time to look now but just wondering if the UN had to change all the "disaster relief money" they gave to the generals into FECs? I know the UN got ripped on the exchange rate... you'd think top UN experts would know stuff like current exchange rates, wouldn't you.
Such is the nature of dealing with a corrupt regime. The moneyed-class, especially the military always get their cut.
#9 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136
Yettaw, the American nutcase who swam to Aung San Suu Kyi's house and provided an excuse for the Junta to put her put under house arrest and prevent her from standing for election (yet again) has been released... thanks to a US senator's intervention.
How many FECs did that cost I wonder.