Government AffairsMyanmar's travel professionals do not see a future for the industry under a military government, says source.

Tourism workers join Myanmar protests

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The travel industry calls on the ruling junta to relinquish their power grab and restore democracy in the country.
The travel industry calls on the ruling junta to relinquish their power grab and restore democracy in the country.

Tourism workers and professionals were among the huge crowds that took to the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw earlier this week to protest against the country's recent military takeover.

On Monday, a group of 2,000 tourist guides, drivers, hotel staff, travel agencies and travel bloggers started the walk at 9.30am towards the Chinese embassy and continued to downtown Yangon to hold a sit-in demonstration in front of Central Hotel which is owned by the military.

They were among hundreds of groups marching peacefully around Yangon since early February, after the armed forces arrested the country's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and members of her party, in a claim that her National League for Democracy had rigged the 2020 elections.

According to an industry source who wished to remain anonymous, the tourism sector in Myanmar "doesn’t see a future for their industry under a military government," and are protesting at the injustice of "having their votes from the November elections stolen away from them".

The source shared, "One of the tourist guides said: 'We don’t want to go back to the military period, during the last 10 years we have seen the tourism industry growing and flourishing and we are sure that will not be the case under a military regime.'"

"Literally hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating in Yangon and it is remarkable to see how well they are organised, purely based on the natural good hearted and peaceful behaviour of the demonstrators and the generosity of the Myanmar people."

TWA understands that these protests took place peacefully, with volunteers from the tourism sector giving free water, energy drinks, fruits, snacks and lunch boxes, while volunteer medical aid personal and ambulances trailed big groups to provide medical assistance if needed.

"The Myanmar tourism industry has always been very resilient, and again in this difficult time the heroes from the industry show again that they are united and ready to fight any challenge that comes their way," the source added.

Despite the peaceful protests, Myanmar's security forces fired live rounds and rubber bullets to protestors in Mandalay on 20 February, with two casualties and about 30 injured.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the act “inexcusable," strongly urging "the security forces to exercise utmost restraint to avoid further injuries and loss of lives, and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and restore calm".

International leaders have universally expressed condemnation to what the US administration terms a "coup d’etat", and president Joe Biden had denounced the military takeover as "a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy."

Myanmar demonstration

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