The opening up of Burma to tourism is fairly recent, since it only dates back to 2010. Since then, the president Thein Sein has tried to put in place a policy of opening up the political spectrum, liberalisation and the integration of minorities in the heart of the government. Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party was elected to Parliament, is evidence of this, and she remains the main figure on the international scene as a symbol of the struggle for peace. In spite of everything, the current situation in Burma is still synonymous with confrontations and persecutions. Minority Muslims, the Rohingyas in particular, are still the target of violent attacks and murders. However, the next presidential elections could put a stop to decades of military dictatorship.
A trip to Burma doesn't pose any problems for well-informed travellers, who are aware that certain areas are strongly advised against, even forbidden. The Burmese are very welcoming and delighted with a window to the world. It's therefore possible to discover Burma without any particular difficulty. The confrontation zones, or more sensitive areas, require special authorisation and they remain somewhat advised against. Conflicts are located mainly in the border regions with Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh.
Inter-community tensions, specifically between Buddhists and Muslims, are still high in Burma at this time and they call for a certain vigilance, notably in Mandalay, Rangoon (renamed Yangon) and Moulmein (renamed Mawlamyine), where these Muslim minorities live. Visitors can easily enjoy a trip to Burma, away from the zones of conflict and armed struggles.
Tourism has been developing strongly since the opening up of the country and it has become a vital source of revenue for the population and also for the government. Hotels and restaurants are sprouting up like mushrooms to fulfil the needs of a growing tide of visitors. This rapid development is encouraging a move towards democracy, supported and carried by the West. For the Burmese, tourism is an integral part of this idea of change and rediscovered freedom.