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Few countries have seen their tourism fortunes change as fast as Myanmar. The once-isolated country became a tourism darling within a few years after its opening in 2010, and expectations were once high that Myanmar could in time become a serious contender to regional tourism stalwart Thailand.
That did not happen, of course. Many visitors, particularly Western tourists, soon turned their backs on Myanmar over its treatment of the minority Rohingya Muslim population. Myanmar tourism received a swift knock-out blow as visitor numbers plunged, derailing any plans and momentum the nascent sector had made in recent years.
But the tourism tide appears to reverse again for Myanmar as international attention on the Rohingya crisis wanes. In the story below, Skift Editor-at-Large Raini Hamdi takes a look at why tourism businesses are anticipating the new wave, having taken the recent downturn to invest in creating new experiences and accommodations, particularly in remote and less-developed parts of the country.
Still, the question remains: To visit or not to visit? The decision is often an ethical one for many travelers, although ample literature suggests that boycotts, in tourism or elsewhere, seldom achieve their intended outcomes or change behaviors.
So, why not go? Spending time in Myanmar, and engagement with its people, is far likelier to leave lasting, positive impacts in the country.
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Asia Editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.