Sa Ba Street Food Tours guide Mi Mi was recently asked by the travel and lifestyle website, The Matador Network, how travel boycotts could effect the ordinary people of Myanmar. Here is an excerpt below but to read this very insightful article in full click here
Tourism funds locals whose livelihood depends on travelers.
The tourism industry in Myanmar is nascent. Although the borders in Myanmar were never closed to foreign visitors, tourism has only spiked in recent years. Soe says that “over the last 5 years, tourism has been a very positive force, creating many jobs and opportunities that never previously existed in our communities. I work as a street food tour guide and this type of job never existed before tourists started visiting and wanted to discover our local food. On our tours, we visit family-run places to be sure that all of the money is being spent responsibly at a local level.”
Tourism is vital to the local economy in Myanmar, especially among the lower class. Marston has seen this first-hand, “tourism is helping alleviate poverty in Myanmar by creating new jobs in tourism, hospitality, and infrastructure-related industries because of the need to accommodate tourists.” The Oxford Business Group reports that employment from tourism in Myanmar will rise by 66% between 2015 and 2026. The potential for tourism to impact the country is immense.