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The Upstream Journal

A magazine on social justice since 1975

Posts Tagged / tourism

  • May 10 / 2010
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Journal

Burma: The ethics of travel to an exotic tourist destination ruled by tyrants

The ancient city of Bagan, with more than 2000 pagodas and temples.. Photo: Jose Javier Martin Espartosa

The ancient city of Bagan, with more than 2000 pagodas and temples.. Photo: Jose Javier Martin Espartosa

For the tourist, Burma is a country of contradictions. The southeast Asian country boasts cultural sites and sandy beaches that rival any tourist paradise in the region. But according to some democracy activists, the very functioning of the tourism industry is bound up with gross human rights abuses committed by the military regime that has ruled the country since 1988.

The untouched scenery and friendly locals have made Burma an attractive tourist destination, and so commercial tourism has been promoted despite calls for a boycott. Asian travel agents have long promoted cheap tours to Burma, and now European and American travel agents are also establishing tourist operations in the country. Continue Reading

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  • Nov 01 / 2009
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Journal

Oppression or opportunity? Tourism project in Honduras sparks conflict

“We don’t want outsiders to come and exploit us or remove us from our ancestral lands.

“We don’t want outsiders to come and exploit us or remove us from our ancestral lands.
We want to develop an eco-tourism industry which is ours and which will sustain our Garifuna cosmovision and respect the natural environment.”
Photos by
James Rodriguez

 

Garifuna people have lived in Tela Bay, on the north coast of Honduras, for more than 200 years. The community has high levels of poverty and unemployment and relies on fishing and land cultivation. It suffers from the lack of economic prospects, discrimination, migration and lack of government support. Basic infrastructure and sanitary conditions are poor.

UNESCO has identified Garifuna culture as an “outstanding but endangered heritage.” There are only 11,000 Garifuna people, descended from African and Amerindian origins, living in ten communities along the coast of Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua. Their language is largely undocumented and not formally taught except in one village.

Now Tela Bay is changing. The Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort has begun construction in the area, supported by the Honduran Ministry of Tourism and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is funding the project.

“With funding and training, we expect the Garifuna people to have opportunities to develop new businesses, to become entrepreneurs and profit from the arrival of tourism,” Ricardo Martinez, the Honduras Minister of Tourism, said in an interview for this article.

Even so, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), whose stated aim is to protect the Garifuna’s culture and territory, fears that the resort will lead to the destruction of these local communities. OFRANEH points to recent episodes of violence as examples of repression Garifuna communities face. Continue Reading

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