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July 20, 2008

Journeys Within Announces Plan to Continue Myanmar Help

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia — As the focus of the rest of the world moves away from Myanmar, Journeys Within Tour Company announced an unprecedented plan to help bring tourism back to the devastated country as well as simultaneously raise money for the continuation of much needed disaster relief. From December 2008 through December 2009 Journeys Within Tour Company will give 100 percent of the profit of the first 10 tours to the Myanmar relief effort and then continue to give 50 percent of profit of all tours for the full year. The money raised will go to Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), a non-profit organization working in Southeast Asia and one of the only non profits to have Western aid workers allowed into the stricken country.

“We are hoping that this approach will encourage people to travel to this amazing country. Most of the country has not suffered any damage but is now struggling because the tourism industry has essentially collapsed. Guides, drivers, hotel staff, they are all facing uncertain futures. Our plan is to get our guests into Myanmar so they can see the amazing sights, but also provide jobs within the tourism industry and simultaneously help the Southern Region destroyed by Cyclone Nargis,” said Andrea Ross, Journeys Within Tour Company owner and JWOC founder.

Following the model of the Thailand tsunami, Journeys Within hopes to encourage travelers to visit the majority of the country that was not harmed by Nargis, but is still feeling the effects. Then, to ensure that the region in need continues to receive aid, the profit of a limited number of tours will go directly to the JWOC efforts in the Delta Region, followed, for an entire year, by 50 percent of all Burma tour profits.

“We felt this was the right thing to do, it’s as simple as that,” said Brandon Ross, Journeys Within Tour Company president. “The people of Myanmar need our help and we know them: they are our guides, drivers and friends and we wanted to do everything we could to support them and help restore the country. This isn’t about politics, it is about us helping our community.”

Jesse Wolfe, JWOC director, has been on the ground in Myanmar working on disaster relief and knows first-hand the struggle the people are facing. JWOC has provided much needed rice in the Delta Region and is also supporting an orphanage damaged in the storm and now running at capacity because of the Nargis orphans.

“For JWOC, we have a lot more work we still want to do,” said Jesse. “The people I met need our help now and are going to need it for a while, but already, with the media not focusing on it, the donations are slowing down. Because of this, I think what Journeys Within is doing is key to the re-growth of the country. This is a sustainable way to benefit the entire country as well as the Delta region directly. I hope that people will see this as an amazing opportunity to do good as they travel.”

Journeys Within Tour Company has released new Myanmar tours on their website and will also give the profit of any portion of a custom tour in Myanmar.

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“Over the years we have used a number of tour companies throughout the world. It is hard to find a tour company that is truly connected with the destinations that it serves. Journey’s Within is demonstrating its concern and connection with the people of Myanmar through its commitment to funnel the profits from their tours into relief efforts. We feel fortunate to be working with such a caring organization,” said Dennis and Susan Shay, planning a custom tour for January 2009, including Myanmar.

About Journeys Within Tour Company
Journeys Within offers customized trips to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and Cambodia. Brandon and Andrea Ross live in Cambodia and travel extensively, keeping in touch with all their guides and making sure all accommodations are up to par. By being based in Southeast Asia, Andrea and Brandon truly know the many destinations and can assure the quality of each tour, setting them apart from the competition.

About Journeys Within Our Community
Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC) seeks to create and support projects that reduce poverty levels and increase educational and economic opportunities throughout Southeast Asia. Projects provide training and assistance in the areas of health, education, and economic development. As new problems develop, JWOC focuses resources and attention to solve those problems. By working at the local level and focusing on basic needs such as clean water, education, health, emergency relief and other community-based issues, JWOC helps to develop projects that start small, but with outside support, gain momentum and change lives. More information can be found and donations can be made at www.journeyswithinourcommunity.org or you can contact Jesse at jesse@journeyswithinourcommunity.org.

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