To go or not to go? Ethical perspectives on tourism in an 'outpost of tyranny'

Journal of Business Ethics 76 (4):385 - 396 (2007)


For many years, the actions of Myanmar’s military government have provoked domestic discontent and strong condemnation overseas. The government is encouraging tourism in an attempt to legitimize its actions whilst generating valuable foreign currency. However, a number of organizations are urging people to avoid travel to Myanmar and thus prevent the military junta from obtaining the hard currency and global legitimacy it needs to survive. In this article, the ethical arguments for and against tourism in Myanmar are discussed, and for the first time the ethical perceptions of tourists themselves are explored. The study applied the Multidimensional Ethics Scale to a group of 376 Myanmar visitors, finding that respondents were generally in favor of tourism in Myanmar, but were uncomfortable with the ethical implications of their visit.

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