EXCLUSIVE by Sarah Thomas

KUONI is to drop Burma from its
programme next year, after calls to cut links from human rights pressure group Burma
Campaign.

Kuoni managing director Sue Biggs
said it was dropping Burma due to the commercial factors of SARS and low public
demand.

“We very much look forward to
returning to Burma once the British public demands it back, which we expect to
happen as soon as democracy is restored,” she added.

The Burma Campaign claims tourism
funds a military regime responsible for millions of human rights abuses. Kuoni
currently offers a Road to Mandalay cruise and Classical Burma tour.

The operator took “a couple of
hundred” UK passengers to the country last year, although 2003 business
was set to be much less, according to Biggs.

Burma
Campaign will now turn its attention to Orient Express which is “one of
the last significant tour operators left in Burma,” according to UK
director Yvette Mahon.