Skift Take

An ugly side to the usual benefits brought by a burgeoning tourism industry. Strict law enforcement and diligence will help in stamping out a sex economy before it grows.

…Burmese officials and human-rights groups are worried about what could come next as tourists pour into Burma after decades of isolation. In 2012, Burma received more than a million foreign tourists, up from 816,000 the year before. This year, the country is anticipating 1.5 million — a near doubling of the number of visitors in two years. While tourism is pumping much needed cash into the country — more than half a billion dollars last year — officials want to keep sex off the list of local attractions.

A sex industry catering to foreign tourists has been kept largely at bay, simply because Burma has had relatively few visitors to date. (Thailand, by comparison, received 22 million visitors in 2012.) But there are signs this is changing. Andrea Valentin, founder of Tourism Transparency, which advocates responsible tourism in Burma, says she recently came across a website in Japan advertising sex tourism in the country, with a list of hotels willing to help arrange it.

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Tags: burma, sex