June 13, 2000

On Friday May 26 The Burma Campaign UK and Tourism Concern launched a new arm of their existing campaign opposing tourism to Burma – calling for a boycott of all Lonely Planet publications (LP) until the company withdraws its Burma guide from the market.
In anticipation of the boycott campaign launch outside Lonely Planet’’s London offices, the company displayed poster-size laminated copies of a letter written by a small organisation called the Burma Relief Centre on the outside of the building. The letter thanked Lonely Planet for a recent donation. Lonely Planet’s press pack also carried copies of this letter and recent press articles have made reference to it.
The Burma Relief Centre, based in Thailand has since sent the following letter to Lonely Planet:
Dear Maureen Wheeler,
We were dismayed to find reference to your recent donation to the Burma Relief Centre in the article in the Daily Telegraph on May 27, ‘Burma guide blacklisted’. This has led us to question your organisation’s motives in donating to us. It appears that you had intended to publicise the donation to offset criticism of your organisation’s promotion of tourism in Burma.
As you are aware (from our very first correspondence with your organisation ten years ago), we are against the promotion of tourism in Burma under the current dictatorship. We believe that foreign tourism is one of the factors sustaining the regime, and prolonging the kind of misery we are witnessing daily along the border. Thus, we would prefer not to be complicit in any defence that your organisation is making regarding this issue.
We realise that we were mistaken in accepting your donation, and would like to return it immediately. We will send you a bank draft made out to ‘Lonely Planet Publications’ for the amount you had donated to us, or we can wire the money back if you provide us with your bank account details.
Yours sincerely,
Pippa Curwen,

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