You have got to be kidding me. Okay I’m coming a little late to this argument, but given it’s just appeared in my twitter stream, I’m going to comment.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) have called for the Lonely Planet Burma guide to be removed from the shelves. The theory being, that the guide encourages travel to Burma, and therefore, gives foreign currency to the Junta.

Let me get this straight. By constricting information about an entire nation and how to travel there, Lonely Planet supports the Junta?

The TUC has this to say

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The very existence of a travel guide to Burma encourages people to visit a country they might not otherwise consider. We want to see the travel industry drop Burma from their list of destinations and taking the Lonely Planet guidebook off the shelves would help enormously. If enough people sign our petition and stop buying Lonely Planet guides, we hope we can encourage the BBC to think again.’

I couldn’t disagree more. Holly Cow are they actually serious? Well looking at the petition (which has been running since Feb 2008) it appears not – 454 people have signed it.

Travel, fundamentally changes the way you view the world. Through travel you gain an understanding of a people, a country, that you simply can not achieve in any other way. By visiting a country, by talking with people in that country, by traveling through that country you gain an empathy, a deeper connection, an understanding, that can’t be built by proxy. By talking to each other, we make the world a smaller place.

Travel, fundamentally changes the world around us.

The ethically corrupt argument of censorship of information about a country and how to travel to that country and around that country, is totally absurd.

Gadling has some good comments on this story that I think pretty much show how most people feel.