December 7, 2005

Austrian Airlines, Eastravel and Frommers Guides drop Burma

The three companies have joined the growing exodus of companies ending their promotion of tourism to Burma. They join Carnival Corporation/P&O, Magic of the Orient and Explorers Tours, and Oddessy Guidebooks, who ended their involvement in 2004.

The Burma Campaign UK has received confirmation from Austrian Airlines that it will no longer fly to Burma. Austrian Airlines suspended its flights to Burma earlier this year, and has now confirmed it has no plans to resume the flights. Austrian Airlines subsidiary Lauda Air was the only airline in Europe with direct flights to Burma. The regime had warmly welcomed the flights, hoping they would boost tourism and investment.

Austrian Airlines had been subject to a vigorous campaign throughout Europe, with regular protests held in Austria and The Netherlands. International and Austrian Trade Unions had high level meetings with Austrian Airlines calling on them to end their involvement in Burma.

Eastravel also confirmed to the Burma Campaign UK that it has discontinued tours to Burma. Frommers Guidebooks have dropped Burma from the new edition of their guidebook to Southeast Asia.

“It is good to see companies responding to public pressure to stop promoting tourism to Burma,” said Anna Roberts, Campaigns Manager at the Burma Campaign UK. “Companies don’t want to operate there, and the public don’t want to visit, as they don’t want to put money into the pockets of Burma’s generals.”

Burma’s democracy movement has called for a tourist boycott of the country. In no other country are human rights abuses and tourism so closely linked. Slave and child labour was widely used to build tourist infrastructure. Burma’s regime claims it earns $100 million a year from tourism. It spends around 50 percent of its budget on the military. The Burma Campaign UK is publishing an updated version of its ‘Dirty List’ on December 13th. Only around 20 companies from the travel industry are expected to be on the list.

For more information contact Anna Roberts on 020 7324 4711, or Mark Farmaner on 020 7324 4713


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