The Code hosts forum for child protection in Myanmar tourism

19 May 2014. Yangon, Myanmar.

The Code’s programmes team visited Yangon, Myanmar this month to host a Forum on Child Protection in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism. The event was organised in collaboration with the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the Myanmar Tourism Federation, and attended by top government officials, the tourism industry, and representatives of Myanmar’s civil society.

The goal of the event was to generate discussion about child protection issues in Myanmar tourism, share good practices and lessons learned, and inspire industry action towards preventing the sexual exploitation of children.

With an expected 4 million tourists to Myanmar this year, the country’s Tourism Master Plan 2014 highlights the need for shared responsibility for raising awareness of all forms of exploitation in the tourism sector. This is recognised as a crucial step in developing a thriving and sustainable tourism industry in Myanmar.

The Code is working with local partners towards realising and implementing key components of the Tourism Master Plan. This high-level event was the first in our 2014 calendar of engagement and awareness activities in Myanmar. A series of smaller training events will follow, targeting tourism staff in Myanmar and teaching them about child protection issues relevant to the tourism sector. Training will include how to recognise and report suspected cases of sexual exploitation of children.

Myanmar’s Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism, U Htay Aung, fully supported the event and opened the day by affirming the importance of social responsibility for successful tourism development. “I believe this forum will be a great success in developing responsible tourism in Myanmar, which will in turn promote tourism in Myanmar,” says U Htay Aung

The Code’s work in Myanmar is made possible by the generous support of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. We were honoured to have Christoph Burgener, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Myanmar, as an active participant. Mr Burgener made a rallying cry in support of The Code’s mission in Myanmar. “As tourism continues to develop and grow in beautiful Myanmar, now is the time for prevention. Now is the time to raise awareness. Now is the time to protect Myanmar’s children from sex tourists,” he urged.

Response from participants was overwhelmingly positive:

U Kyaw Min Htin

The protection of Myanmar’s children from sexual exploitation is as important as any other development activity.” – U Kyaw Min Htin, Myanmar Polestar (Member of The Code)

Ignacio de las Cuevas

We need to take advantage of this momentum and work hard, because things are moving so quickly in this country. A bad reputation can be established so easily, and it might attract the wrong people. We have the power [to protect children], and we shouldn’t let this go.” – Ignacio de las Cuevas, Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation


This event was very important for Myanmar. So far not so much child abuse has happened in Myanmar tourism but it is a problem in neighbouring countries and for that reason it’s important that Myanmar is going to start now on this issue and not wait until there are already paedophiles coming to Myanmar.” – Nicole Hausler, Myanmar Tourism Federation


Most people in the tourism industry here, and especially tour operators, feel we should be the ones responsible for protecting our children from exploitation and dangers relating to tourism. Working together, we believe we can reduce the risk. That is why we decided to join The Code. I am glad to be a part of The Code. It is a good resource and if The Code can work more closely with our industry it will help benefit our people here.” – U Myo Thwin, Sweet Memory Travel (Member of The Code)


It was very interesting to learn about The Code’s six steps to protecting children and to hear all the practical examples from hotels and tour companies – to learn what they are doing, what is possible, and what obstacles there are in Myanmar in particular.” – Thomas Carnevale, Asian Trails

We wish to wholeheartedly thank the Myanmar tourism industry for your desire to ensure children stay safe and the Swiss government for your generous support. Special thanks also to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the Myanmar Tourism Federation, and UNICEF Myanmar, whose collaboration and support not only made this event possible but will ensure the success of The Code’s essential work in Myanmar.

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