“We don't have many discos and bars,” he said. “And Myanmar people don't tend to drink too much. Where there are bars and discos, there are prostitutes. By knowing this, we can prevent it.”
Burma's tourism authorities say they prefer to aim at a different influx of international visitor: the culture tourist.
“We have more than 130 nationalities, different traditions, different languages, different costumes,” said Maung Maung Swe. “It's one of the most wonderful cultures in the world. And of course the Myanmar people have such a friendly and gentle nature, same as Thailand 30 years ago.”
There's no doubt that Burma is a Buddhist Disneyland. Almost every hill and promontory in the country is topped with a stupa. It is probably the only country in the world that can match Thailand and India for “temple tourism.”
From the dazzling Shwedagon Pagoda dominating the Rangoon skyline to the legendary Mahamuni temple in Mandalay to the sacred Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo, Burma has the potential to offer Buddhist devotees, pilgrims and the curious a full itinerary of temple visits and good karma.
Perhaps it is just as well, because by far the highest numbers of visitors to the country are currently from China and Thailand, two nationalities commonly stereotyped in Burma as tour groups that, when not shopping for jade and gems, are to be found praying and making offerings at Buddhist temples.
Until Burma's beaches, nightlife and infrastructure are developed to the point they can compare to Thailand or even Vietnam, it is more likely that the country will cater more confidently for Buddhist culture tourists from regional countries.