Trade union leaders have joined campaigning charity Tourism Concern to call for a tourism boycott of Burma.

UK travel companies and tourists should stay out of the country until democracy is restored, they say.

The renewed call for a boycott follows the violent crackdown by Burma’s military junta on pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks last September.

Burma’s elected government, which remains in exile and with leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest in Rangoon, has long called for a tourism boycott and the Foreign Office has urged UK companies not to trade with the country.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Burmese unions have asked us not to take holidays in Burma. We urge the travel industry to drop Burma.”

Fifteen UK tour operators continue to send tourists to the country and the Lonely Planet defied protests to publish a guide to Burma.

Tourism Concern and the TUC say the resulting revenue helps sustain the military regime. They point out the country’s tourism infrastructure has been developed using forced labour, including children, and more than one million people have been displaced by tourism schemes.

Tricia Barnett of Tourism Concern said: “Travelling to Burma without contributing to the regime is virtually impossible.”