Andrea Valentin, founder of Tourism Transparency, which advocates responsible tourism in Myanmar, says she recently came across a website in Japan advertising sex tourism in the country, with a list of hotels willing to help arrange it.In 2012, Myanmar received more than a million foreign tourists, up from 816,000 the year before.This year, the country is anticipating 1.5 million — a near doubling of the number of visitors in two years.
But government officials and human-rights groups are worried about what could come next as tourists pour into Myanmar after decades of isolation.
While tourism is pumping much needed cash into the country — more than half a billion dollars last year — officials want to keep sex off the list of local attractions.
One need only look across the border to see why: Thailand has the highest HIV rate in Southeast Asia, and Cambodia, tragically, has a thriving child sex industry.
YANGON, Myanmar _ On a recent evening at a popular beer hall in Yangon, two dozen women wearing skimpy dresses and hair extensions swayed mechanically on a stage and took turns mumbling lines of high-energy pop songs into the microphone.
The crowd — mostly Burmese men, but also a few groups of foreign tourists — drank mugs of Tiger beer and took videos with their phones.