August 24, 2004

Orient Express, Abercrombie & Kent, Noble Caledonia, Lonely Planet & Austrian Airlines feature on new list.

Thirty-six companies involved in the travel industry are named and shamed in a new ‘Dirty List’ published by the Burma Campaign UK today. A total of 95 companies feature on the list. The ‘Dirty List’ exposes companies that are directly or indirectly helping to finance Burma’s brutal military dictatorship.

Other companies on the list include Nikko Hotels, Bales Worldwide, Audley Travel, and Let’s Go Guides, published in the UK by Pan Macmillan.

“These companies are helping to keep Burma’s military dictatorship in power,” said John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “Tourism doesn’t help the majority of people of Burma, it hurts them. The regime earns millions from tourists visiting Burma. It spends half its budget on the military and just 19p per person per year on health.”

The British government has repeatedly called on travel companies not to organise tours to Burma. Forced and child labour has been used to develop Burma’s tourist infrastructure. Orient Express has recently expanded its interests in Burma by taking a stake in the Pansea hotel chain – now rebranded as ‘Pansea Orient Express’ – which has a hotel in Rangoon. Pansea Orient Express is also building a new hotel in Bagan, Burma.

Several travel companies have ended their involvement in Burma in the past two years, including Carnival Cruises, Kuoni, Magic of the Orient, Oddessy Guides, Moon Handbooks, Explorers Tours, and Intrepid Travel.

“We are down to a hardcore of companies who refuse to listen to Burma’s democracy movement.” said John Jackson. “We will be increasing pressure on those companies that remain. No British or European company should be funding a regime whose soldiers have raped girls as young as five, which imprisons and tortures political opponents, and that ruthlessly persecutes ethnic minorities.

For more information and a copy of the Dirty List, contact Mark Farmaner, Media Officer, on 020 7324 4713

Amnesty International and the United Nations have reported a deteriorating human rights situation in Burma in the past year. Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest following a brutal crackdown and massacre of up to 100 of her supporters in May 2003. In an attempt to deflect international criticism the regime has convened a National Convention to draw up a new constitution. However, the draft constitution enshrines military rule and Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy are not able to take part.

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