Bangladesh is a country of vast, largely unknown and unspoiled natural beauty and reserves, which are simply unique and fascinating. These natural phenomena are composed of hills and vales, forests, rivers, lakes, sea and beaches, and the evergreen landscape embracing the country. Bangladesh- the land of Royal Bengal Tiger, nature has bestowed it with all the beautiful shades of green. This large delta rises from the Bay of Bengal and does up to the footsteps of the west, north and east, a little strip of the south-east is connected with Myanmar. The mighty Bay of Bengal guards its coasts in the southern part. As a new destination, Bangladesh has excellent tourist attractions, which includes

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

archaeological sites, historic monument, pagodas, temples, mosques and churches, tea gardens, beautiful lakes, tribal people & hills, resorts and enchanting sea beaches, deep forest and wild life. Bangladesh though a small country has many diverse attractions for the nature lovers as well as is rich in culture and heritage. The natural environment, our communities, cultures and businesses are all part of what makes up the tourism industry. Sustainable tourism in its purest sense is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems. It is responsible tourism that is both ecologically and culturally sensitive

1.1 Tourism
Tourism is often synonymous to traveling for pleasure and education. It is also a business of attracting tourists and providing for their accommodation and entertainment. In many countries, tourism is an industry for earning Inland Revenue and foreign exchange. The many businesses that grow concomitantly with development of tourism include airlines, shipping, hotels and restaurants, finance companies, tour operators, travel agents, car rental firms, caterers and retail establishments and together, they contribute significantly to the overall development of a country's economy and to its cultural diversification and assimilation. Bangladesh offers tourists a variety of attractions in almost every part of the country. Bengal had always attracted tourists. Travelers from different parts of the world had interest in this part of the world since very ancient times. They visited Bengal with varied purposes. As tourism in its modern sense is a relatively recent phenomenon, it took its start in the present Bangladesh area only during the 1960s. Tourists from abroad came to see and enjoy the sea beach, scenic beauty of the landscape covered with lavish greens and the web of rivers, tribal culture, religious rituals, historical places, forests, wild life and hill resorts. Bangladesh is located in an advantageous position from tourism point of view. It is in the macro Asiatic Air Traffic Corridor. Being so located it is comparatively easier for this country to share this traffic for promoting tourism. Travel & Tourism has a number of advantages over other industry sectors: t creates jobs and wealth whilst; i  at the same time, it can contribute to sustainable development;  it tends to have low start-up costs;  is a viable option in a wide range of areas and regions;  is likely to continue to grow for the foreseeable future; and  the industry is, in a large part, aware of the need to protect the resource on which it is based -local culture and built and natural environment - and it is committed to these resources’ preservation and enhancement.

1.2 Changed focus of tourism
The trend of tourism is changing. Now tourists travel not to discover new but to sympathize with the incident happened in the backdrop of monument or archeological sites originated from killing, death, suffering, torture, sacrifice and many more painful happenings. Tourists remain curious to know every inch of history and the background of those black days. In Europe, America, Canada, South Africa and Australia, tourism is getting a new momentum. Tourists are becoming so interested about something dark; something melancholic. From this phenomenon some American experts traced the concept dark tourism in 1996 after a Page 2

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

survey to tourists' greater interest in visiting former concentration camps, battlefields, graveyards, neighborhoods and even to contemporary sites of mass destruction such as Ground Zero in New York. The popularity of dark tourism is on the rise and is drawing superior attention from the academic community and media alike. A particularly composite issue revolves around consumption of dark tourism and the motivational drivers of dark tourists. Dark tourism implies the black reflection of death and suffering at the time of its occurrence. This new idea in tourism dignifies the vivid and morbid past of a country and helps signify the sacrifice of heroes for the nation, religion, morality and culture. The question of why people visit such dark sites is exciting and presents touchy and controversial ideas. Do people, within present-day society, visit such places out of reverence and commemoration? Do we mull over our own mortality at such attractions and displays? Have people a morbid curiosity that activates the phantom in us? What is the role of the media and the wider socio-cultural persuasion upon dark tourism consumption? These questions and many more beside remain, by and large, unreciprocated. Over the next few years dark tourism will increasingly figure out research and media agendas, in addition to appearing more and more on the enlightening curriculum that is to say education. Among all world historic incidents happened on 21st February of different years, the Bangladeshi 21st February of 1952 is remarkably tragic and chilling. It was a great fight against establishing sweet mother tongue the Bengali language denying the forceful dominance of alien language Urdu. The story is blood freezing. The commemoration for the occurrence formats awe and admiration of the nation. Dark tourists must be spellbound to experience the shuddering story of 21st February. All episodes of 21st February would create catharsis for dark tourists. The corners, streets of Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Dhaka University stepped by the language movement heroes could be places of dark tourists' sight seeing. Throughout the ways the murals of the background of 21st February would be pictured. The Shaheed Minar would be the main attraction for dark tourists. The meaning of the monument must allure the tourists. For exalting 21st February, we can take the following measures for the development of dark tourism: • • • • • • • • An exclusive museum of the language movement has to be established The biographies of martyrs should be compiled The background of their participation should be researched The story tellers or guides specifically on 21st February have to be trained The project should be assigned between Bangla Academy and Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, National Tourism Organization TV, Radio, News Paper and media would popularize the concept The assistance of UNESCO must be sought The literature, drama and music on 21st February should be promoted

Through dark tourism, we can exactly pay homage to the language movement and its heroes. Internationally 21st February will achieve new scale of importance and it would put extra attraction in tourists' activities. The climax of 21st February other than literature can be presented and highlighted best in the promotion of dark tourism. Besides 14th December, 26th March of Bangladesh that are commemorated for intellectuals assassination and genocide would also qualify dark tourism. Tourism itself is yet to be backed nationally. But the concepts of dark tourism, rural tourism, eco-tourism, culinary tourism, and heritage tourism may draw separately momentum in total tourism development of Bangladesh. Each concept is a herald of Page 3

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

nationalism. Contrary to this, Bangladesh is wonderful and exclusive to flourish the above mentioned each tourism concept. In every case we are rich and have an ancient dignity and affluent legacy. And with the special activation of dark tourism we could rather imply due tributes to the national heroes who made their lives trivial for the birth of Bangladesh.

1.3 Tourism Growth: Global Perspectives
International tourist arrivals for the first eight months of 2007 point to a continuation of the sustained growth rate experienced over the past years. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, this trend is likely to continue through the remainder of 2007, with year-end growth estimated at 5.7 per cent, which would put international arrivals to 880-900 million. 2007 is set to be the fourth year of growth above the long-term average of 4.1 per cent and is well on track to become the third consecutive year with a differential of about 1.5 per cent above this long-term rate. Emerging destinations in Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East have been the main growth drivers. Although well above their respective long-term averages, the more mature regions of Europe and the Americas showed a more moderate pace. The New Millennium and the coming decades are very much crucial for the developing countries to achieve Sustainable Economic Growth. Tourism is considered to be the largest income generator of the world economy contributing over 10% to Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For at least one third of the developing countries, the tourism receipts are the main source of export revenue and the tourism industry generates substantial economic benefits to the developing countries. The exceptional growth of tourism over the last 50 years is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena of the 21st century. The number of international arrivals shows an evolution from a mere 25 million arrivals in 1950 to the 763 million of 2004 representing an average annual growth rate of more than 7% over a period of 50 years - well above the average annual economic growth rate for the same period. Tourism has clearly outperformed all the other sectors of the economy and has grown into the most significant economic activity in the world. In Singapore, tourism has made a significant contribution to output, employment, and income and overall Balance of Payment. Singapore has unveiled a new tourism blueprint titled "Tourism 21" that is expected to turn the nation into a world class tourism business center and the tourism capital of the East and Singapore has earned 30000cr taka in the last year. Malaysia allocated millions of dollars for tourism infrastructure in an effort to increase arrivals and receipts. The tourism industry is one of the few sectors in which Nepal holds a comparative advantage and the industry has influenced segments of Nepal's economy and social system through the multiplier effect including hotels, restaurants, transport, shopping, entertainment and other allied economic activities. So the continued growth in international tourism has been supported by a strong global economy expanding at around 5 per cent for the fourth consecutive year. The world's emerging market and developing economies registered particularly strong GDP growth. The recent turbulence in the financial markets has not had any notable impact in tourism results .

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

Part - Two

2.1 Ethnic Origin of the People of Bangladesh
During the pre-historic period human beings were nomads, living in small groups. They did not know how to grow food; so, they were hunter-food gatherers, moving place to place to hunt wild beasts and to gather wild food to quench their appetite. Afterwards they learnt how to domesticate wild animals. Still they remained nomads. In search of new pasture lands for their herds they used to move from one place to another place. The first group of Page 5

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

human beings who came to Bangladesh was Mongoloid people from Tibet and China . They crossed the Himalayas to reach this land. After the Mongoloid race came the Austro-Asiatic people to Bangladesh from Indo-China region. Perhaps this people came to Indo-China region from the Polynesian and Melanesian islands in the South Pacific Ocean. By 8th Century BC or 2800 years ago a group of them reached in Bihar near the border of Bangladesh. In 18th and 19th century a few Portuguese and even English settled down in Bangladesh.

2.2 Religious history of Bangladesh
Ancient Arabs used to worship different god and goddesses, such as Laat, Maanat; ancient Iraqis used to worship Enlil, Isthar, and Uruk. God and goddesses of ancient Greeks were Zeus, Appollo, Venus and many more. In fact during ancient time every nation had their deities of worship. Ancient people of Bangladesh used to worship a deity called Bangi. Perhaps the name of the country derived from the name of the deity worshiped by the people of the land or vice versa. In 14th century some Muslim saints from the Middle East and Iran started preaching Islam in Bangladesh, and soon Islam became the faith of the majority people. There is a misconception among the people of Bangladesh as well as foreigners that people of this country got converted to Islam from Hinduism. The British knew very well that the people, whether Muslim or Hindu, of this country were very sensitive of their faith. So they did not want to exasperate the people against their rule by hurting their religious sentiment. However, through the efforts of Jesuit and other Christian missionaries a few people of Bangladesh became Christian.

2.3 Heritage of Bangladesh
2.3.1 Heritage: Heritage is the features belonging to the culture of a particular society, such as traditions, languages or buildings, which still exist from the past and which have a historical importance. Our rivers always change their courses. The ever shifting rivers courses, excessive monsoon and extremely humid climate of our country as well as brick vandalism or deliberate destruction of buildings caused by human beings have destroyed so many of our cities and building heritages! In the middle of the nineteenth century a European, Bishop Heber, came to Bangladesh. 2.3.2 Pre-Mogul Mosques: Among our mosques, Sat Gambus Mosque in Bagherhat, along with other pre-Mogul mosque at that place, is a world heritage. Other renowned mosques in Bangladesh are: Chhoto Sona Mosque in Chapai Nababganj, Kusumba and Bagha Mosque in Rajshahi, Baba Adam mosque in Munsigaj, Goaldi Mosque in Sonargawn, Sura Mosque in Dinajpur, Sailkupa Mosque in Jessore, Shahzadpur Mosque in Pabna, Atia Mosque in Tangail, Sat Mosjid mosque, Khawja Ambar Mosque, Kartalab Khan Mosque in Dhaka. Some of these mosques are pre-Mogul mosques built during 14 th and 15 th centuries, and some are Mogul mosques built during later period. Pre-Mogul and Mogul mosques differ in some architectural features.

2.4 Tourism Attractions of Bangladesh
DHAKA: The Capital The capital city of Dhaka, gateway to Bangladesh for most international visitors, is a colorful and thriving metropolis of some 12 million people. It bears an exciting history and rich culture. Known all over the world as the city of mosques and rickshaws, it has attracted travellers from far and near through the ages. It is the center of industrial, commercial, Page 6

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

cultural, educational and political activities for Bangladesh. Motijheel is the main commercial area of the city. Dhaka's main waterfront sadarghat is on the bank of the river Buriganga and is crowded with all kinds of river craft, yachts, country-boats, motor launches, paddle steamers, fishermen's boats all bustling with activity. CHITTAGONG: The commercial capital of Bangladesh The commercial capital and the largest international seaport of Bangladesh, the health city (declared by UNESCO), Chittagong is located in a picturesque hinterland of large hill forests and lakes. It is really an amazing vacation spot. Its green hills and forests, broad sandy beaches and fine cool climate always attract holidaymakers. It combines the hum of a restless sea-port with the pleasure of a charming hill-town with its undulating topography. Chittagong is connected with Dhaka by rail, road, air and water. It is also connected with Cox's Bazar, Kolkata, Pukhet, singapore and middle east by air. Bangladesh Biman and private GMG airlines operate daily services from Dhaka to Chittagong. COX'S BAZAR: The world's longest unbroken white sandy beach A conglomeration of miles of golden sands, towering cliffs, surfing waves, rare conch shells, colourful pagodas, Buddhist temples and tribes, delightful sea-food- this is Cox's Bazar - the tourist capital of Bangladesh, having the world's longest unbroken (120 km). Smooth, sandy, shark-free beach sloping down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hills covered with deep forests. Cox's Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world. The breath- taking beauty of the setting-sun behind the waves of the sea is captivating. SAINT MARTIN`S ISLAND: St. Martin is the country's only Coral island. Forty eight km from Teknaf - St. Martin is the country's only Coral island and unspoilt paradise with friendly people. Named Narikel Gingira (coconut Island) by the local, the dumb-bell shaped St. Martin has an area of only eight sq. km from one to four meters above sea level during sea level during high tide. RANGAMATI: The Lake District From Chittagong, a 77km road amidst lush green fields and winding hills will take you to Rangamati- which is a wonderful repository of scenic splendours with flora and fauna of varied descriptions. The township is located on the western bank of Kaptai Lake. Rangamati is a favourite holiday resort because of its beautiful landscape, scenic beauty, lake, colourful tribes, hanging bridge, and tribal museum. BANDARBAN: The roof of Bangladesh Ninety two km from Chittagong by road - Bandarban is the district headquarters of the Bandarban Hill District. It is the home town of the Bhomang Chief who is the head of the Mogh tribe. The Moghs are of Myanmar origin and Buddhists by religion. The moghs are simple and hospitable people. Bandarban is also the home of the Murangs who are famous for their music and dances. Several other tribes of great interest live in the remote areas of the district. The highest peak of Bangladesh- Tahjin dong (4632 ft) is located in the Bandarban district. SYLHET: The land of two leaves and a bud Immaculately nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, it is a prime attraction for all tourists. Its terraced tea gardens, eye-soothing orange groves and pineapple plantations and hills covered with tropical forests form a beautiful landscape. The Sylhet valley has a good number of haors which are big natural wetlands. These haors which provide sanctuary to the millions of migratory birds who fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid the severe cold. SRIMONGAL in Page 7

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

Moulvibazar district known as the tea capital of Bangladesh is the main tea centre of the area. For miles and miles around the visitors can see the tea gardens spread like green carpet over the plain land or on the slopping hills. Sylhet, the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens. A stay in one of the rest-houses of tea gardens would be an enchanting one. Sylhet is also known as the land of the famous Muslim Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA), the great torch bearer of Islam to this region. Another shrine of this town is the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran (RA). Mahasthangar (Bogra): Dating back from the 3rd century BC, this is the earliest known city site in the whole of Bengal. One can see the ruins of an early Buddhist monastery near Mahasthangar. Paharpur (Naogaon): This gigantic temple and monastery of the 8th century is by far the most spectacular Buddhist site that has been discovered. It has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Dinajpur: Ramsagor Lake and the Kantajis Mandir (built in 1722) are two important attractions in this northern district. The Mandir, with mythological decorations in terracotta, depicts the entire story of Mahabharata. Sixty Domes Mosque (Bagerhat): Built in 1454, with 77 domes, this is the most magnificent and certainly the largest brick mosque of Bangladesh. The mausoleum in memory of the Muslim mystic Khan Jahan Ali is located here. It has been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Comilla: Here the most important place to visit is Mainamati-Lalmai, an extensive centre of Buddhist culture (7th to 12th century), developed during the Chandra and the Deva dynasties.

2.5 Tourism potential in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is located conveniently on the east-west air-corridor making it a gateway to the Far East. It is endowed with resources and the potential for a tourism industry. In the southeast the country has a 120 km long beach of soft silvery sand, perhaps the world's longest, in a Riviera-like setting with crescent-shaped low hills overlooking the Bay of Bengal. The ranges of the hills clad in lush green thickets are treasured locations for eco-tourists and wildlife watchers. At the head of this terrain is Cox's Bazaar which is as romantic as its name is to the outside world. The Hill Districts to the north and north-east of Cox's Bazaar nestle the Kaptai and Rangamatilakes, a 840 body of crystal clear water lying in sylvan shadows not far from where a dozen hill tribes follow their traditional life-styles. The Tea District of Sylhet in the far north-east of the country has prospects of tourism, as does the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest in the South which is home of the Bengal tiger; remains of palaces of old principalities and archaeological sites of Buddhist monasteries. Shrines and holy places, mosques and temples, particularly in the northern part of the country, are among the tourist treasures of Bangladesh.

2.6 Tourist attractions
Bangladesh is a country well known for its lavish hospitality. Its visitor-friendly traditions, varied life styles, cultural and natural heritage, and colourful fairs vals could be major tourist attractions. Bangladesh has the longest beach in the world, beautiful forests including the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, and wildlife and landscapes, both on the plains and in the hills, for eco-tourism. Being the largest delta in the world, its river system criss-crosses the whole country, which makes Bangladesh the best river-cruising Page 8

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

country. The museums, science museums, art and archeological museums, archeological sites, indigenous people, traditional food and song, and centres of pilgrimage attract tourists. Bangladesh has a huge market for herbal medicine, which could be an added attraction for the tourists. Bangladesh handicrafts, particularly rattan products, carpets, leather goods, brass, filigree and clay work, are the main shopping items of tourists. Table:1 Tourist Arrivals ( in thousand)

Table:2 Revenue earned from tourism( in million $)

2.7 Constraints in tourism in Bangladesh
Constraints in tourism in Bangladesh • Lack of social and political commitment. • Non-availability of adequate infrastructure, including domestic and international transportation, accessibility to tourist destinations, accommodation and inadequate trained manpower. • Non-existence of any marketing policy both in the private and government sectors. • Social insecurity: local people do not have visitor experience, so tourists sometimes feel uneasy in some places.

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines


Various tourism facilities have been developed in many of the potential tourism areas by the Bangladesh Parjatan (Tourism) Corporation and other government, semi-government and non-government agencies. The Government of Bangladesh formulated a National Tourism Policy in February 1992. The main objective of this policy is to attract investment in tourism from the domestic private sector as well as by foreign investors. The government encourages foreign investment in the sector, either in the form of joint ventures or on a full foreign ownership basis. In order to encourage investments, the government has put in place a number of incentives such as tax exemptions.

3.1 National Tourism Policy
Promotion of tourism in Bangladesh under the aegis of the government started in 1972, following independence of the country. The main attractions of the tourism industry of Bangladesh are varied cultural heritages, ancient archaeological sites, Buddhist heritages and many eco-tourism sites, world’s longest natural sea beach, etc. Recognizing the Page 10

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

contribution of tourism to the socio-economic development of the country, the government framed the National Tourism Policy in 1992. In the Tourism Policy, status of tourism industry in Bangladesh was described, aims & objectives were defined and implementation strategies were suggested. The policy identified tourism as a multidimensional industry and spelt out the necessity to have an effective coordination among various government ministries, departments, agencies and civil society bodies. As per the recommendation of the National Tourism Policy, a ‘National Tourism Council’ headed by the Prime Minister and an ‘Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee’ headed by the Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism were formed. Unfortunately, both the committees virtually remained dysfunctional. Until now, only two meetings of the National Tourism Council were held. The National Tourism Policy undertook some initiatives for a vigorous promotion of tourism within and outside the country. However, most of those remained unimplemented. Against this backdrop and emergence of private sector tourism industry, it is urgently felt that the 1992 policy needs updating.

3.2 National Industrial Policy, 2005
The National Industrial Policy 2005 has recognized tourism as an industry and declared it as a “thrust sector”. As per the Industrial Policy, foreign investors have been offered various incentives to invest in tourism industry, which include: (a) Tax exemption on royalties; (b) Tax exemption on the interest of foreign loans; (c) Tax exemption on capital gains from the transfer of shares; (d) Avoidance of double taxation of foreign investors on the basis of bilateral agreements; (e) Exemption of income tax on salaries up to three years for the foreign technicians employed in the approved industries; (f) Remittance up to 50% of the salary of the foreigners employed in Bangladesh and the facilities for repatriation of their savings and retirement benefits and personal assets at the time of their return; (g) Facilities for repatriation of invested capital, profits and dividends; (h) Guarantee against expropriation and nationalization of foreign private investment (as per Foreign Private Investment Promotion & Protection Act 1980); (i) Provision for transfer of shares held by foreigners to local partners with the permission from the Board of Investment and the Foreign Exchange Control Dept. of Bangladesh Bank;

3.3 The Tourism Master Plan
The Tourism Master Plan of Bangladesh prepared in 1988 with the assistance of UNDP/ILO has identified a number of hindrances of the tourism industry and suggested various ways and means for the growth of tourism in Bangladesh. The Master Plan has envisaged a short-term, medium-term and long-term planning strategy for the promotion of tourism in Bangladesh. The short and medium-term strategies are intended to be completed within a 10-year period, the short-term referred broadly to the third and fourth national development plans, and the medium-term extending into the following five year period. Because of the constraints on public sector resources and possible caution on the part of the private sector to commit investment finance on tourism projects, the development programme follows the same broad approach in allocating projects to short and mediumterm programmes. Although, in short term, some increase in tourism activity in Bangladesh can be achieved through small-scale product improvements, in the medium and longer term, major product initiatives will be required to achieve the growth targets. The major product development strategies may be ‘River Tourism Product’, ‘Village Tourism Development’, Page 11

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

‘Cultural Heritage (archeological sites, historic buildings and monuments, museums, fine arts and performing arts etc.)’, ‘Forest and Wildlife’ and other products innovation.

3.4 Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation as National Tourist Organization
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) was established in 1972 through a Presidential Order no 143, and placed it under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. It has been entrusted with dual responsibility - promotion of tourism in the country as well as creation of facilities on commercial basis. Since its inception, BPC has been developing and creating various tourist facilities across the country. Till to date, it has created 42 tourism units (hotels. motels, restaurants, tourism centre, picnic spots, duty free shops, drinks corner, etc.) at different places of tourist attractions of the country in order to offer facilities to the tourists. It also runs a National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI), which to date, produced more than 24,000 trained manpower. As per the privatization policy of Bangladesh government, BPC has leased out as many as 11 commercial units to private sector on commercial basis.

3.5 Infrastructure
Though communication and transport system in Bangladesh is quite well established, the infrastructure in the tourist places is yet to be fully developed. Tourism and amusement facilities in some areas - like Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata, Paharpur, Sundarbans, Teknaf and St. Martin are not sufficient. Presently, there are some tourism infrastructure in and around of Dhaka, the capital city through private sector initiatives. Owing to lack of funds, construction of tourism infrastructure cannot be undertaken.

3.6 Tourism in Bangladesh: SWOT ANALYSIS 3.6.1 Strengths
Industry experts insist that promoting tourism should be based on our strengths. We should definitely exploit factors created by geographical diversity and the exotic tribal life in some parts of the country. The strengths of tourism are as follows: • Bangladesh has the potential and resources to create innovative tourist destinations which will pull people from other nations in hordes. The 25 rivers of Bangladesh can easily be turned into haunts for water sports and adventure, entwining entertainment with the beauty of the rivers. In Bangladesh there are different appealing spots for the eco-tourists, who travel to different destinations in a sustainable manner. The country possesses some unique archaeological sites, cultural heritage and ecotourism products like the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, the world’s longest unbroken sea beach in Cox’s Bazar (120 km), the oldest archaeological site in the Southern Himalayas-Paharpur and world’s largest terracotta temple - Kantaji Temple in Dinajpur, and spectacular monuments and mausoleums of language movement and liberation war of the country. There are many tribal groups in different areas of Bangladesh. Each has its own culture, social structure and lifestyle. Not many parts of the world boast such diversity. The nation has also been bestowed with archaeological sites and religious sanctuaries of old which have significant historical value that can attract tourist en masse. The key strategy would be to convey to potential tourists that there is much more to experience in Bangladesh. People of Bangladesh are generally very hospitable and tourist friendly.

• •

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

• • •

Domestic tourism is increasing steadily. Due to two-day holiday in the week, the trend of moving out for recreation has increased mainly among the middle class people of the society. Awareness about tourist attractions among the local community is increasing. Communication and transport system has been developed from north to south, east to west.

3.3.2 Weaknesses
Tourism- the globally recognized tool for poverty alleviation is yet to be recognized by the policy makers of Bangladesh one of the poorest countries with significant tourism potentials. While most of the countries all over the world are making all out efforts to develop tourism and boost foreign currency revenue, Bangladesh remained stuck in nonaction. So, Bangladesh has remained one of the most backward countries in the world in tourism sector. • • • The country often suffers from image crisis. The country continues to remain as an unknown destination to the tourist generating countries. There is a great shortage in properly skilled human resources. At the moment, the industry is suffering from a huge crisis of proper tour guides. Due to the deficiency in human resources it has become very difficult to smoothly run tourism businesses. Due to absence of a tourism law, the tour operators or tourism service providers can not be punished for any mishandling of tourists. Also owing to absence of law, tourism products can not be protected or conserved, which is there in many countries of the world. One of the biggest hurdles is the lack of proper infrastructure in the country which has made operating tour guides and other excursions a hectic and unprofitable feat. Frequent changes of officials in the BPC’s management and its line ministry. Absence of representation of civil society in the BPC’s Board of Directors. No revenue budget for the promotion of tourism development in the country. Absence of a regular policy direction. Due to absence of proper policy direction, BPC or the private sector can not receive any fund or loan from any quarter. There are some flaws in the law of categorizing the country’s hotels and restaurants. Categorizing of the hotels and restaurants as Star or non-Star is not under the jurisdiction of the BPC. Non-technical hands or institutions are involved in this process.

• • • • • •

3.6.3 Opportunities
• • • • • • It is easy to implement eco-tourism, riverine tourism, and spiritual tourism, as the country possesses enough opportunity to develop these types of tourism. Government has formulated favorable foreign investment policy to attract overseas investors in readymade garments, leather goods, natural gas and petroleum sector and liberal policy for joint venture investment in tourism sector. As there are hundreds of rivers crisscrossing Bangladesh, immense potentiality exists for development of riverine tourism in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is located strategically in South Asia. Tourism generates jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales and indirectly through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-related businesses. So the employment generation effects of tourism are massive Tourism can play a crucial role in stabilizing a country’s’ balance of payment situation. He enlightens us that that 60 to 90 per cent of the foreign exchange that Page 13

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

the country earns through the RMG export leaves the country eventually to pay for all the raw materials and accessories needed for production. In tourism, it is not irrational to assume that foreign exchange retention could be as high as 100 per cent.

3.6.4 Threats/Constraints
• • • • • • • Unstable political situation created a bad image abroad, which should be taken as the biggest threat for development of tourism industry overseas. Continuous campaign against Bangladesh by certain quarters as a fundamentalist country is another obstacle. Unholy alliance between the trade union and political leaders, which disrupts labor discipline. Politicization of administration The lack of a proper tourism authority in Bangladesh has been the main deterrent for the industry. Although the BPC claims to be the tourism authority in Bangladesh, it is not. Trade Union Menace in the organization Rapid growth of population is another big problem. Bangladesh is the most overpopulated country of the world, except the city state of Singapore.

3.7 Tourism Growth in Bangladesh
Bangladesh context after two consecutive years of decline in tourist arrivals 2007 has showed sign of recovery. Bangladesh registered highest number of tourists-271270-in the year 2004. But in 2005 the number declined by 23.46 per cent to 2, 07,662. The number fell further by 3.64 per cent to 200311 in 2006. Along with the rest of the world, 2007 seems good for Bangladesh. Arrivals to the country are showing some kind of recovery. Till August, the country has received 173749 tourists and if the trend continues, the decline trend will be halted. The place of Bangladesh among the countries of the SAARC region is just above Bhutan. Things would have been much better, had the tourism received the importance and attention it deserve. In Bangladesh it is evident that the tourism industry is growing. This is reflected from the increase in earnings from tourism industry in Bangladesh. If we take the statistics we will see that the earnings from this industry is growing sharply from one year to another for the last 10 years. Below are some observations on the month wise average statistics on the foreign earnings from the tourism industry in Bangladesh. A. Year wise foreign exchange earnings from Tourism in Bangladesh: Year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Total Foreign Earnings(in MM) Tk
Earnings If we look at the total & Yearwise ForeignBangladeshMM)TkTk) foreign Earnings (infrom Million we Tourism other Travels in (in will see that it is increasing sharply from year to year. It 6000 was 1401 MM Tk in 1996, 2627 MM Tk in 2000 and 5460 MM Tk 5000 2007. So it is showing the earnings from in tourism industry in growing. Table: 3 4000 Figure 1
Million Tk 3000 2000

1401.2 2741.4 2454.8 2451.9 2627 2653.8 3312.6 3310 3967.56 4493.89 5054.6 5460

B. Month wise average foreign exchange earnings from Tourism 1000Bangladesh: in
0 Year 1997 1998 1999 2000 2006 1996 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

If we look at the month wise average foreign exchange earnings we will se the earnings are on an average highest in the month of December. Besides it also rises sharply in the Month of January, March & September in every year. It represents that most of the tourists to come in Bangladesh in the winter season, especially in December and January. At this period of time huge tourist come in our country to see the Cox’s Bazar Sea Beach and the Sundarbans. Again the number of tourist also increases in the month of September. It also represent that least tourists use to come at August and April. In this two months tourist use to come in lesser numbers there are the probability of Cyclones, Flood and other bad weather forecasts. Except those two months throughout the year there is a common trend of tourist in out country.
Month Average Foreign Earnings Figure -2: Tk Month (in MM) 299.30 311.57 242.83 260.07 245.71

wise Average Foreign Earnings

Mont hw ise Average Foreign Earnings January 311.21 from T ourism & ot her T ravels in Bangladesh (in Million T k)

Dec Nov Oc t Sep

March April May June

C. Arrival Reasons for Tourist in Bangladesh:

In Bangladesh for many reasons tourists use to come at different times of the years. The main reasons for which July 247.46 Jul tourists use to come in Bangladesh is tourism, business, office, August 234.14 Jun study, religion and for others reasons many foreigners use to 313.19 May September come in Bangladesh. If the average number of foreigners from 251.74 A pr October different categories is picked then we will see the most number 273.39 Mar November foreigners come from the tourism. The second reason is Feb December 336.73 Jan Table -5: Arrivals Reasons of business. So it means that tourists are the main reasons for Tourist in Bangladesh foreigners’ arrival in Bangladesh. 250 Table -4: Average Foreign Earnings 0 50 100 150 200 300 350 400
A ug


Arrivals Reasons Tourism Business Office Study Religion Others
450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0

2004 Tk (MM)




Figure -3: Yearwise Averaege number of

39840 44627 6318 4043 3073 173369

68077 92126 4456 5947 6606 30450

72034 102125 7234 6023 7980 50568

76503 113145 8756 6324 8765 66589

Average No of Tourists 64114 88005 6691 5584 6606 80244

Foreigners in Bangladesh (2004 to 2007)







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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

From all the above findings it can be said that different historical data represents that tourism industry is growing day by day in Bangladesh. Foreigners are coming to see and visit the tourist spots in Bangladesh and we can huge foreign earnings from this industry.

3.8 Tourism for Economic Growth in Bangladesh
The Tourism sector can play an important role as a driving force of Economic Development by contributing in three high priority goals of developing countries: A. Generation of income: Tourism Expenditures and the Export related goods and services generate income to the host Economy and can stimulate the investment necessary to finance growth in other Economic sectors. Government may earn revenue by imposing tax on the popular products demanded by the tourists. B. Employment: Tourism offers the opportunity of providing jobs for different classes of people and thereby contributing to the alleviation of poverty in developing countries. Tourism generates jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales and indirectly through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-related business. In addition Tourism can induce the local government to make infrastructural improvements and also make an important contribution to a country's Balance of Payments (BOP). So Tourism is a powerful engine of growth for many developing countries. C. Foreign exchange earnings: Although the number of tourist arrivals in Bangladesh has shown an increasing trend over the years, Bangladesh has not been able to reap the full benefits in the tourism sector up to the desired level according to its potentiality. In the year of 2004-2005, approximately 2,71,270 tourists visited Bangladesh and it earned 3967 million taka whereas in 2005-2006 300000 tourists visited Bangladesh contributing more than 4000 million Taka to the domestic economy.

Part - Three
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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines


4.1 What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism is a kind of approach to tourism meant to make the development of tourism ecologically supportable in the long term. The very importance of sustainable tourism lies in its motives to conserve the resources and increase the value of local culture and tradition. along with alleviating any deeper impact on environment and local culture. "Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee long-term sustainability. Sustainable tourism is a responsible tourism intending to generate employment and income. Sustainable tourism should: • • Make optimal use of environmental resources used in tourism, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity. Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance. Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-

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earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

4.2 Characteristics of Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable Tourism seeks deeper involvement of locals, which provide local people an opportunity and make their living. Above all, Sustainable Tourism stresses pointedly upon integrity of the tourist places. Characteristics of sustainable tourism are follows:  Its informative. Travelers not only learn about the destination, they learn how to help sustain its character while deepening their own travel experiences. Residents learn that the ordinary and familiar may be of interest and value to outsiders.  It supports integrity of place. Destination-savvy travelers seek out businesses that emphasize the character of the locale in terms of architecture, cuisine, heritage, aesthetics, and ecology. Tourism revenues in turn raise local perceived value of those assets.  It benefits residents. Travel businesses do their best to employ and train local people, buy local supplies, and use local services.  It conserves resources. Environmentally aware travelers favor businesses that minimize pollution, waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals, and unnecessary nighttime lighting.  It respects local culture and tradition. Foreign visitors learn about and observe local etiquette, including using at least a few courtesy words in the local language. Residents learn how to deal with foreign expectations that may differ from their own.  It does not abuse its product. Stakeholders anticipate development pressures and apply limits and management techniques to prevent the "loved to death" syndrome. Businesses cooperate to sustain natural habitats, heritage sites, scenic appeal, and local culture.

4.3 Principles of Sustainable Tourism
With the increased footfalls of tourists, the deep need today is that tourism like other sector be planned and managed suitably. Sustainable development of tourism is possible only if its follows some of its principles. • • • • Tourism ought to be initiated at any location with the help of local community. The involvement of local community helps maintaining the appropriate tourism development. The local community has to meet the direct benefit of flourishing tourism in their area. Link between local business and tourism enable local people gain economically as well. To cause large growth in sustainable development, there is need that codes, ethics and some fair guidelines be appointed. In order to heighten the importance of heritage and natural resources, and manage them better, training and education programme should be instituted.

4.4 The Concern for Ecotourism
Since ages, nature worship and the conservation ethics have been an inseparable part of Indian thought and traditions. Traces go back to ancient civilizations of Bangladesh, when people used to nurture the philosophy of the oneness of life. The Bangladeshi tradition has always taught that, humankind is a part of nature and one should look upon all creation with the eyes of a love and respect. It is tragic that since last few decades, the mad quest for the material end and economical progress in Bangladesh and abroad has become identical with Page 18

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

the exploitation of nature in all its appearances. Today, the entire world is facing a deep crisis and is in the danger of being doomed. The rich forest areas and biological diversities have been relentlessly divested to erect concrete walls. The continues denuding of forest reserves has led to Global Warming and Greenhouse Effects. Fortunately, this has led to some realization, and now the world has awakened for new beginnings about human responsibility towards nature. It is an approach that creates a variety of quality tourism products that are: • • • environmentally/ ecologically sustainable economically viable socially and psychologically acceptable

4.5 Relationship between Ecotourism and Sustainable tourism
Ecotourism basically deals with nature based tourism, and is aimed “to conserve the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. On the other hand, sustainable tourism includes all segments of tourism, and has same function to perform as of ecotourism – to conserve the resources and increase the local cultural and traditional value. Though the goal of ecotourism and sustainable tourism is much similar, but the latter is broader and conceals within itself very many aspects and categories of tourism.

4.6 Current picture of Ecotourism in Bangladesh
As stated above, Bangladesh is endowed with the largest mangrove ecosystems in the world, the Sundarbans, the longest unspoiled natural sea beach in the world, the largest man-made lake and a vast offshore marine environment. These are complex and dynamic ecosystems where there are long-term ecological changes, such as those caused by the formation of new mudflats through the natural process of accretion, and the ever-changing micro relief of the innumerable streams and rivers due to erosion and sedimentation. Bangladesh is engaged in a continuous endeavor to integrate her ecotourism resources through planning, management and appropriate use, based on the following principles: (i) optimum multiple use of the resources; (ii) maximum sustainable use; and (iii) conservation and development of natural resources. When we promote and sell our tourist products (for example, the Sundarbans, the Hilly Districts, Cox’s Bazar) we have to make sure that the resources, such as the forests with their numerous varieties of trees, plants, herbs and their animals are not destroyed or overexploited. Obviously, tourist products should be used in such a way that they are not going to be destroyed. Large numbers of tourists can be the cause of destruction. Tourists, who unmindfully or without caring throw away their left-over food scraps and drinks, leave behind synthetic articles or tin containers cause damage to the local environment and eventually the earth. One way to handle such problems is to control tourist visits to each particular product or place. Restrictions can be imposed on the number of tourists, and on how they undertake their visit, before a site becomes overcrowded. It is a good idea to present a particular tourist location at which there are a number of attractions. By doing this one can spread the load while presenting variety to tourists. There are good laws in Bangladesh related to the environment, and the legal system is potentially strong. Yet like other laws, the enforcement mechanism remains either weak or is completely missing. Consequently the legislation is not effective in any real sense. Nevertheless, to promote tourism and protect nature at the same time, there is no alternative but to enforce the laws properly. In the Hilly Districts, tribal people set fire to the jungles for jhoom cultivation (a primitive tribal way of cultivation) causing serious damage to the forest and the species therein. The tribal people need to be stopped from doing this. Page 19

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

4.7 Potential for Eco-tourism in Bangladesh
Bangladesh enjoys a unique position, being easily accessible from many popular destinations in South Asia. This is a real advantage, and particularly true of the Chittagong Hill Tracts that provides a truly pristine and exciting destination for travelers. According to the Lonely Planet Bangladesh profile, three destinations worth visiting are the Govinda Shiva and Jagannath Temples at Puthia, Rajshahi, St. Martin's Island, and Rangamati and Kaptai Lake in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The country is home to the Royal Bengal Tigers, leopards, Asiatic elephants, monkeys, langurs, gibbons (the only ape in the subcontinent), otters and mongooses. Reptiles include the sea tortoise, mud turtle, river tortoise, pythons, crocodiles, gharials and a variety of snakes. There are more than 600 species of birds, including the Paradise Flycatcher and the most spectacular kingfishers and fishing eagles (IUCN, 2000). The climate of Bangladesh is subtropical and tropical and there are six main seasons: Grishmo or summer, Barsha or Monsoon, Sharot or fall, Hemanto or fall, Sheit or winter and Bashonto or spring. The Bengal region has a multi-faceted folk heritage, enriched by its ancient animist, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim roots. Weaving, pottery, and terracotta sculpture are some the earliest forms of artistic expression. The World Heritage Committee has included in the World Heritage List and the Sundarbans (which is in the list of World Heritage Sites). Major Eco-Tourism Destination in Bangladesh 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Sundarbans (Largest Mangrove Forest) Hill tracts Districts (Bandarban, Rangamati,Khagrachori) The Saint Martin’s Island (Coral Island) Nijhum Deep ( Sea queen Island ) Srimongol Lawachera rain forest & Tangua Hoar

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

Part – Five:

5.1 Developing Tourism in Bangladesh: Some Strategic Views
Tourism is the world's largest industry. In Bangladesh the following things should be examined carefully improve the tourism condition: A. Ensuring Clean and Safe Environment: No one wants to visit a place that is not clean or unhealthy. Tourism cannot survive without a clean and safe environment. In a like manner, communities that do not provide pleasant surroundings and a clean environment have a very hard time attracting business. B. Having friendly people and good service: Tourism requires friendly people and good service. No matter what the attraction may be, a tourism centre that lacks good customer service and friendly people will fail. In the same way, communities that offer poor service not only do not attract newcomers, but, in the end, have a difficult time holding on to their local population, young people and businesses. C. Good restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities: Tourism requires good restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities. These are the same factors that are essential to any community seeking economic development. D. Enhancing community-based tourism: Bangladesh can be an ideal destination for community-based tourism. For sustainable progress in poverty eradication, the present time is suitable for considering the implementation of community-based tourism. Bangladesh is a Page 21

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

country of thousands of villages. Most of its heritage sites and international tourist spots are positioned around villages. These are intended for education as well as recreation. E. Tourism campaigns on Special Attractions: Sometimes rare plants or animal species are the main attraction, sometimes traditional food, handicraft or historic buildings. A European example of well-developed rural tourism is France. Camping and caravans are the most popular forms of accommodation in rural areas, many of them on farms. Many farmers have developed camping sites on their farms. Others prefer to invest in various kinds of short-term rental houses known as "gîtes." F. Enhancing community-based rural tourism: Bangladesh has huge potential for tourism. The concept of community-based rural tourism and its benefits are still unexplored. Now is the right time to think of rural tourism development. Apart from rural tourism, all general attractions, like archaeological sites, historical places and natural beaches are, more or less, getting importance. Rural tourism can turn into a booming sector for at least two reasons. First, through rural tourism, Bangladesh may rid itself of poverty, and second, the infrastructure of far-off and rural places will be developed. Community-based rural tourism is a must for the economic development of Bangladesh. H. Taking Enhancing community-based tourism as a must: The government and community leaders may also want to take into account that tourism adds prestige to a community. People like to live in a place that others consider worthy of visiting. Such pride in one's nationality or community can become an important tool for developing the economy. I. Community Association & Tourism: People sell their community's best when there is a great deal to see and do in it, when it is safe and secure, and when customer service is not merely a motto but a way of life. Community festivals, traditions, handicrafts, parks and natural settings all add to the desirability of a locale and its ability to sell itself to potential outside investors. The quality of life can also be reflected in a community's museums, concert halls, theatres and uniqueness. J. Tourism focusing on emerging and minority communities: Tourism is an important economic development tool for emerging and minority communities around the world. Since tourism is based on the appreciation of other cultures, tourism industries have been especially open to giving disadvantaged groups around the world opportunities that have often been denied to them by other economic sectors. K. Employment Generation: Tourism requires a great deal of construction work and provides large numbers of entry-level jobs. Tourists may infuse additional money into the local economy through shopping. In nations where manufacturing is not developed, the tourism industry can be an essential method for reinvigorating local economies. L. Infrastructure Development: Improving the infrastructure, human resources, proper policy and concerns of government can easily hold the industry back into the right track and thus Tourism can become the engine of poverty alleviation and economic growth M. Focus on innovations: Focus should be made on innovations like eco-tourism. The number of eco-tourists in the world has been increasing by more than ten percent a year. Initially, Bangladesh may set its target to attract one million eco-tourists a year. To achieve that target, it will have to chalk out a down-to-earth tourism marketing strategy and go for aggressive marketing in countries, which produce most of the outbound tourists. Page 22

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

N. Tourism Fairs: Nowadays different organizations often organize tourism fairs in Bangladesh, in which mainly outbound tour packages are sold. Sending tourists from Bangladesh to other countries cannot be treated as the development of tourism in our country. These fairs are sellers' fairs in character from the perspective of Bangladesh because the foreign exhibitors or their counterparts in Bangladesh sell outbound tour packages, and only a few offer domestic tour packages. Instead of helping the country to earn foreign currency through tourism, the sellers' fairs help in depletion of the foreign exchange reserve of the country. Bangladesh needs buyers' fairs, where foreign buyers (travel agents) will come to Bangladesh to get offers of tour packages, so that they may send tourists to our country. O. Efforts from both Public & Private Sectors: It is common knowledge that tourism cannot grow in isolation as it is a multi-sector industry. Governments are only just starter but effective and active participation between the private and public sectors, nongovernmental organizations, institutional bodies, and local communities should be ensured to get the fruitful effects of Tourism Industry. So committed efforts are needed from both the public and private sectors for full development and utilization of the potentials of the Tourism Industry.

5.2 Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism Development
The principles identify sustainable tourism as having four pillars economic, ecological, cultural and community sustainability. Various guidelines have been developed for each.
5.2.1 Economic sustainability - that is profitable in both the immediate and long term

• • • • • •

Form partnerships throughout the entire supply chain from micro-sized local businesses to multinational organizations Use internationally approved and reviewed guidelines for training and certification Promote among clients an ethical and environmentally conscious behavior Diversify the products by developing a wide range of tourist activities Contribute some of the income generated to assist in training, product development Provide financial incentives for businesses to adopt sustainability principles

5.2.2 Ecological sustainability - development that is compatible with the maintenance
of essential ecological processes, biological diversity and biological resources

• • • • • •

Codes of practice should be established for tourism at all levels Guidelines for tourism operations, impact assessment and monitoring Formulate national, regional and local tourism policies and development strategies that are consistent with overall objectives of sustainable development Institute baseline environmental impact assessment studies Ensure planning, development and operation of facilities incorporate sustainability Ensure tourism in protected areas, such as national parks, is incorporated into and subject to sound management plans Page 23

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

• • •

Monitor and conduct research on the actual impacts of tourism Identify acceptable behavior among tourists Promote responsible tourism behavior

5.2.3 Cultural sustainability - increase people's control over their lives andh the
culture and values of those affected and strengthen the community identity

• • • • • • • • •

Tourism should be initiated with the help of broad based community input Education, training programs to improve and natural resources should be established Conserve cultural diversity Respect land and property rights of traditional inhabitants Guarantee the protection of nature, local and the indigenous cultures Work actively with indigenous leaders and minority groups to insure that indigenous cultures and communities are depicted accurately and with respect. Strengthen, nurture and encourage the community's ability to maintain Educate tourists about desirable and acceptable behavior Educate the tourism industry about desirable and acceptable behavior

5.2.4 Local sustainability - that is designed to benefit local communities and
generate/retain income in those communities

• • • • • •

The community should maintain control over tourism development Tourism should provide quality employment to community residents Encourage businesses to minimize negative effects on local communities and contribute positively to them Ensure an equitable distribution of benefits throughout the entire supply chain Provide financial incentives for local businesses to enter tourism Improve local human resource capacity

5.3 Strategic Policy for Sustainable Tourism Development
5.3.1 Draft plan of action for sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh

To meet the various requirements for sustainable tourism development, a number of issues need to be addressed and specific actions need to be taken at the national and regional levels. Attention also needs to be given to the various modalities for implementation of those actions. Attention also needs to be given to the development of strategies for the implementation of the action plan within a specified time-frame and the mobilization of resources.
5.3.2 Requirements for sustainable tourism development

Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable tourism development. In order for tourism development to provide benefits to people in host countries and satisfaction to the tourists visiting those countries, the positive contribution of the tourism sector needs to be sustained and negative effects minimized or eliminated. This requires that all people involved in the tourism industry have foresight, commitment and the tools to plan and manage in a way that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. While tourism is an economic activity largely carried out by the private sector in most countries, national governments make policies and plans for tourism development in terms of national economic objectives. These objectives aim at earning foreign exchange, creating employment, attracting investment and ensuring more equitable and more widespread Page 24

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

distribution of income. Sustainable tourism development, on the other hand, involves almost all aspects of life, and this means that the tourism industry must be viewed as an integrated whole with an impact on not just the economy, but also society, culture and the physical environment. This requires consideration of what tourism does to the environment and the quality of life, and how it affects the needs of local people. Policy makers in many Asian countries and areas where revenue from international tourists has become a significant source of foreign exchange have designated the tourism sector an engine of economic growth. Policy makers have also been carefully considering strategies and plans that could advance or strengthen the contribution of the tourism sector to more sustainable rapid development.  The tourism industry is characterized by a range of various interests held by a number of different stakeholders. In order for the various groups to resolve differences or conflicts, governments must take the lead in fostering cooperation and collaboration. This can be done by ensuring that the integrated, sustainable features of the industry are kept in mind as all stakeholders express their views and interests, and that decisions are made accordingly. Coordination, management and planning by government agencies are prerequisites for creating the modalities to sustain tourism development and ensure that stakeholders keep in view their collective interests. Sustainable tourism development requires direct attention and explicit statements with regard to policies and future plans. However, government may face constraints in meeting these requirements owing to limitations in the financial and human resources necessary to carry out responsibilities for policy-making, planning, coordinating and monitoring in the many areas covered by sustainable tourism development. In the face of these constraints, there are two approaches that might lead to solutions. The first is to encourage greater participation and cooperation with the private sector, and the second is to encourage greater regional and sub-regional cooperation in sharing experience, facilities and costs.
5.3.3 Issues to be addressed

The recommendations of various meetings, seminars and workshops, including the Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development, have shown that there is considerable scope for strengthening national capabilities and promoting regional cooperation in achieving sustainable tourism development. There is a need for a clear mandate from the government to facilitate appropriate roles for the various stakeholders. There is also a need for integrating and coordinating tourism policy-making and planning with the full range of other government agencies, such as those involved in infrastructure, human resources development, environmental management, immigration, border-crossing formalities and social development at the community level. Both substantive and procedural policy issues which influence the strength of national capabilities were considered at the Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development. These policy issues serve as the parameters for the present draft plan of action. Indicated below are some of the major policy issues which need attention.
5.3.4 Policy-making

Tourism policy: The tourism policy of a country provides the most explicit indication of the governmental approach to sustainable tourism development and the role that all

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

stakeholders in the tourism industry need to play. As part of tourism policy, organizations can be set up which are able to set objectives, formulate plans and implement programmes. Information: Policy makers also need reliable information and good-quality data on a timely basis in order to appreciate the complex and long-term interactions that tourism has to maintain with the rest of the economy. If information or data are lacking, then the importance of the contribution of tourism to sustainable socio-economic development tends to be overlooked. In our country, the national tourism organizations do not receive enough resources, and their capabilities therefore remain limited. Tourism policy and the work of the national tourism organization should be able to emphasize the interrelationship that involves a number of concerns related to sustainable tourism development, such as human resources development, the economic impact of tourism, environmental management, infrastructure, travel facilitation and cooperation at the regional or sub-regional levels.
5.3.5 Planning

Planning has both policy and operational elements which form part of the process by which the government decides on objectives, sets out the means for achieving the objectives and sets priorities. Policy planning involves the long-term outline of general goals, objectives and directions for sustainable tourism development. Operational planning covers the strategies and procedures to be implemented in order to carry out the policy. Integrated planning also requires reliable and timely information in order to highlight clearly the links between national economic development and the tourism sector. Development of a tourism master plan and introduction of integrated tourism planning are appropriate approaches for sustainable tourism development, because all aspects can be covered in a comprehensive way, including the social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects. A master plan and integrated tourism planning can indicate that the tourism sector is a major part of the national economy and that the planning process will be ongoing and action-oriented in ways that facilitate implementation.
5.3.6 Managing

Managing sustainable tourism development involves leading, coordinating and controlling in order to bring together all of the resources that will contribute to formulating and implementing the national tourism policy. Administrative issues are also involved as they relate to setting up the structure of a national tourism organization and defining its functions and responsibilities. Leading the development may involve setting up councils or committees at the highest levels of government to underscore the commitment, and being a catalyst for sustainable tourism development. Coordinating may require working with the various stakeholders from the national level to the local level in order to set priorities and create consensus for action. Controlling may include establishing mechanisms, laws and regulations that ensure coherent inter-sectoral coordination within the government and that will promote broader participation and spread benefits more widely to sustain tourism development. Management can also become more effective if supported by systematic, reliable information. Such information can also play a role leading to greater awareness of the opportunities and benefits that could be derived from cooperation and sharing among countries at the regional and sub-regional levels.
5.3.7 Private sector participation

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

In most Asian and Pacific countries and areas, the private sector is recognized as a major stakeholder since it is largely responsible for providing tourism services. So Bangladesh has to encourage private sector for this potential sector. One of the most important issues has been how to attract greater private sector participation, including development of partnership between the public and private sectors. Several other issues concerning the relationship between the public and private sectors involve creating a conducive business environment, providing investment incentives, having an adequate legislative framework and strengthening the capabilities of government officials in formulating projects, setting priorities and negotiating with the private sector.
5.3.8 Proposals for action

Under the overall framework of strengthening national capabilities and promoting regional cooperation in sustainable tourism development, the plan proposes action at the national level and supporting action at the regional level. In this context, six theme areas have been identified in which specific action is required. The theme areas are: (a) human resources development in the tourism sector; (b) the economic impact of tourism; (c) environmental management of tourism;(d) infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector; (e) facilitation of travel; and (f) regional and sub-regional cooperation in tourism development. Some of the action required in each theme area is indicated below. A. Human resources development in the tourism sector Bangladesh faces the general problem of lacking strategies and policies for human resources development for tourism. The need to develop the required human resources for the tourism industry has become imperative as a result of the rapid growth of tourism. Some of the specific problems which need to be addressed include: (a) the quantity and quality of human resources which are related to the labor-intensive nature of the industry and the need for a high standard of specialized skills in cross-cultural working environments; (b) the shortage of tourism training infrastructure and qualified trainers in many countries; (c) the lack of national legislation and guidelines to improve the working conditions in the tourism industry.
In this context, the following specific action could be taken:

(1) Governments should assess present and future training requirements for human resources development. (2) Governments should consider formulating national strategies for tourism training and human resources development. (3) Each country should establish a national tourism training committee, consisting of representatives of the government, training institutes and the tourism industry. (4) Each country should consider setting up a national network of tourism education and training institutes to further strengthen cooperation. B. Economic impact of tourism The net contribution of tourism to the economy is often not known, beyond a general awareness of the economic benefits, with the result that effective and appropriate policies cannot be made. To overcome this problem, reliable, systematic research on the economic impact of tourism is needed. A realistic assessment of the economic impact can help to make integrated planning easier, strengthen the links between national economic policymaking and sustainable tourism development and enable better understanding of how to enhance the economic benefits from tourism. Countries could also learn how to enhance the economic benefits from tourism by studying each other's experience. In this context, the
following action could be taken:

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

(1) Bangladesh should continuously update their data and research, and use these findings in establishing the appropriate role for tourism in the national economy. In that case Seminars and workshops should be organized to strengthen country capabilities to use different methodologies for determining the economic impact, including the WTO global methodology, tourism satellite account; and WTO could provide its expertise in support of country and regional studies. (2) Bangladesh should initiate action to undertake such research and studies, so to be able to establish appropriate policy for tourism development. C. Environmental management of tourism The problems related to the environmental management of tourism development arise from the complex relationship between development and its impact on the environment. The problems of adverse impacts could be tackled through effective planning and coordination of action, enforcement of legislation and governance. Problems with legislation relate to the enforcement of laws, the lack of human resources trained to monitor and enforce the laws to understand that compliance with the law provides long-term benefits that sustain tourism. Government agencies need to give more attention to planning, coordination and monitoring in order to achieve sustainable tourism development that includes protecting and preserving the environment. There is also a need to increase awareness of how the rapid growth of tourism affects the ecology of tourist destinations in many different environments. It thus becomes imperative to find ways to integrate environmental management with tourism development, thereby ensuring more sustainable tourism development. The problem of sustainability must also be addressed in terms of balancing tourism development with preserving the environment, the cultural heritage and the indigenous culture of local communities. In this context, the following action could be taken: (1) Governments should give more attention to the planning, coordination and monitoring of tourism development and environmental management. (2) Local communities should have greater involvement in environmental management and sustainable tourism development. (3) Governments should create awareness through the mass media, among the general public and international tourists about protecting and preserving the environment in order to sustain tourism. (4) Countries should pay particular attention to the development and promotion of ecotourism. (5) Seminars and workshops should be organized in order to facilitate the sharing of experience and information for developing ecotourism. (6) Technical cooperation among developing countries should be promoted through exchange visits of experts on technical aspects of the environmental management of sustainable tourism development. D. Infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector There is a close and dynamic relationship between infrastructure development and sustainable tourism development, because inadequate infrastructure is one of the most serious constraints on future tourism development. To overcome constraints and problems, an integrated planning approach and formulation of master plans should be encouraged. The government should create an environment conducive to private sector investment and provide adequate incentives to that end. In addition, infrastructure requirements for tourism development should be properly integrated with the full range of a country's infrastructure development and investment requirements. To this end, the following action could be taken:

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

(1) Governments should indicate their clear commitment to private sector involvement in tourism infrastructure development, and this should form part of integrated plans or a master plan. (2) In order to attract private sector participation, governments should address such issues as creating a conducive business environment, liberalizing rules and regulations, providing investment incentives, developing an adequate legislative framework and strengthening government capacity to negotiate. (3) Training workshops should be organized to build capabilities among government officials in negotiating techniques and to promote relationships between the public and private sectors for tourism and related infrastructure development. E. Facilitation of travel A wide range of travel facilitation problems could impede sustainable tourism development. These problems may include lack of accessibility by air, road, rail and water transport; inefficient policies and procedures for visas, customs and currency; possible threats to the health and safety of tourists; the lack of information services for tourists; a negative image if there is overpricing; shortage of trained people in the government and the tourism industry; and the complex nature of border formalities and customs regulations. Governments have a direct role to play in making policies, rules and regulations and providing infrastructure affecting these factors. To this end, the following action could be

(1) Each country should set up an inter-ministerial committee or council, including representatives of the tourism industry, to promote coordinated development of tourism and facilitation of travel. (2) Each country should consider setting up a consultative council comprising the tourism and aviation industries to consider accessibility issues by sharing views and harmonizing divergent interests. (3) Countries should conduct training programmes for immigration and customs officials to make needed changes and take the required action in order to improve efficiency. (4) Countries should develop national policies on tourism health and safety and provide tourists with appropriate information upon arrival. F. Regional and sub-regional cooperation in tourism development Countries and areas in the region, and different sub-regions individually, may have limited accessibility, lack resources and/or capabilities or have inadequate arrangements for expanding tourism. Regional and subregional cooperation could help governments and the tourism industry in addressing many problems more effectively by sharing information, facilities, experience and expertise. Such cooperation would promote sustainable tourism development by conserving scarce resources, increasing cultural and economic understanding and increasing the frequency of international contacts and exchange. Regional and subregional cooperation enables countries to learn from each other, share facilities and reduce unnecessary competition. Regional and subregional cooperation to promote tourism could be initiated among the members of different regional and subregional groups, namely, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation (BIMST-EC), the Asian Highway etc.. In this context, the following specific
action could be taken:

(1) Governments should participate actively in the existing cooperative groupings with a view to contributing to regional and sub-regional tourism development and to benefit from sharing and collaboration. Page 29

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

(2) Governments should take initiatives to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperative arrangements for sustainable tourism development and promotion. (3) Some of the mechanisms which could be considered by these agencies in promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation may include the organization of regional and subregional meetings and seminars and the conduct of studies. G. Modalities The national action and supporting regional action enumerated above provide a clear guide to the specific responses that are part of the action plan. One or more modalities may facilitate the achievement of each action. Governments and regional organizations are encouraged to be innovative and imaginative in preparing approaches which make use of national and regional resources.  Effective implementation of the plan of action will require a fundamental review of policy-making, planning, managing and defining private sector participation for the purpose of sustainable tourism development. A number of modalities are presented in order that the consequences of action will be far-reaching in socio-economic and environmental terms. The modalities suggested for the national level are designed to address the far-reaching socio-economic consequences associated with sustainable tourism development.  Governments would generally be responsible for action at the national level, while action at the regional level can support and facilitate. Supporting action at the regional level may cover technical assistance; regional research and development, including comparative studies; opportunities to exchange experience and know-how; and cooperation and facilitation of sustainable tourism development activities which are expected to have an impact transcending national borders. H. National modalities A number of modalities are listed below which could enable implementation of the proposed national action. (a) Policy coordination committee for sustainable tourism development Collaboration is needed at the highest level at which policy is developed, formulated and coordinated. The primary role of the committee would be to provide a framework for integrated tourism planning or master plans, harmonize strategies and propose consolidation of the resources of various tourism-related ministries and agencies in order to attain sustainable tourism objectives in an efficient way. (b) Public/private sector consultative committees The private sector, including business enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are involved in many areas of sustainable tourism development. Consultative committees are one type of modality enabling the government to maintain constructive dialogue and to have multiple sources of information to help in policy-making, planning and management. (c) Facilitation committees Sustainable tourism development will require harmonious interactions involving parties from both the public and private sectors who need to work together, even when difficult issues may arise, when the needs of various government ministries may differ and when various short-term objectives may create disagreements. Implementation also requires collaboration among various parties and organizations. Facilitation committees are a type of modality for resolving problems and issues at the working level and contributing to improved productivity and reduction in costs. (d) Interdisciplinary teams People with specialized fields of expertise and experience are valuable resources and can contribute to sustainable tourism development by virtue of the Page 30

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

synergy created by their collaboration. Such interdisciplinary teams can be organized for special, time-bound tasks that will contribute to the process of sustainable tourism development. (e) Sustainable development zones The creation of such zones in different parts of the country provides opportunities to focus efforts and formulate experimental or pilot projects for sustainable tourism development. Development zones allow for innovative approaches and can serve as an experiment before full implementation. (f) Demonstration projects for sustainable tourism development Before implementing national-level reforms, demonstration projects at the local and community levels can test reforms of legislation, administration and participation related to sustainable tourism development. This modality would work with small-scale projects and activities and could provide useful information if projects need to be adjusted in order to be successful. I. Regional modalities A number of modalities can be used at the regional level to play a supportive role or serve as catalyst for the process of sustainable tourism development. (a) Sharing of information, research and data Information, research and data collected on a regional basis can serve as a foundation for regional cooperation. It should be possible to identify similar types of policies, plans and projects where information exchanges may be useful. Information about educational and training opportunities in all areas of sustainable tourism development could be disseminated throughout the region. (b) Comparative studies in sustainable tourism development As countries of the region gain valuable experience in the policy-making, planning and management of sustainable tourism development; this experience could provide a worthwhile resource for the region. It is important, however, for comparative studies to be based on thorough and careful evaluation. Where possible, such comparative studies may yield general guidelines based on experience in the region. (d) Regional and subregional cooperation Given the considerable differences in the levels of socio-economic development reached by cBangladesh in the region, it may be possible to find a variety of approaches to sustainable tourism development. This provides a solid basis for regional and subregional cooperation in order to share and compare experience; to provide mutual assistance in human resources development; and to develop regional and subregional policies and plans. Along this line, subregional organizations can provide forums for consultation on policies, plans and issues. J. Implementation, time-frame and monitoring Coordination and cooperation are the crucial factors for effective implementation of policies, plans and programmes to promote sustainable tourism development at the national level. Such coordination and cooperation are also necessary among international, regional and subregional organizations and agencies which provide assistance to countries, both within and outside the United Nations system. Governments need to set explicit goals and form implementation strategies at the national level in order to carry out the proposals contained in the action plan. Encouraging the participation of the private sector in the implementation process will create opportunities to identify complementarities of experience, expertise and resources. Inter-agency meetings, ad hoc intergovernmental meetings or legislative committees will provide the opportunity for discussions of regional concerns about issues of sustainable tourism development and Page 31

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

keep implementation of the action plan under review. It will also allow redirection as required, so that planned activities and outputs remain relevant to the priority needs of the countries.  Specific, measurable indicators of achievement will be developed and consolidated within particular projects in order to facilitate the monitoring process. Detailed progress reports as part of the review reports prepared on infrastructure and tourism will be submitted to the Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development once every two years. There will also be a consolidated report on activities and outputs produced under the regional programme. K. Strategies for resource mobilization The scale and coverage of the action plan would start with a thorough examination of current practices. Such an examination would help in the implementation of far-reaching proposals for action designed to strengthen national capacity for sustaining tourism development. In this connection, the tourism sector could thus play a more effective role in national development. The potential benefits from the action designed to achieve sustainable tourism development would justify the resources needed to achieve a new type of socio-economic development. Traditional and non-traditional resources must be mobilized to support the proposals for action at the national and regional levels. Many countries will have to try to mobilize domestic savings, and this effort will encourage support from potential donors, both domestic and international. Extensive resources already exist in the Asian and Pacific region in terms of expertise and experience which could be employed to strengthen national capacity in sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh. TCDC could lead to sharing a great number of these resources. The private sector can have a significant role in sharing expertise as well as providing financial resources, and should be encouraged in a wide range of projects.  Finally, support for the action plan on sustainable tourism development will be forthcoming if progress in implementation is demonstrated at the national and regional levels.

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

Recommendations & Concluding Remarks

Part –Six:

6. RECOMMENDATIONS 6.1 Recommendations for tourism industry
 Governments, local governments, employers, trade unions and community groups should jointly create community based institutions and services to help women and men to cope with the double burden of family and household work as well as work outside the home to generate income, such as child care facilities, which, in turn, can create jobs. The industry can look into opening child-care facilities in tourist resorts for the children of the employees.  Bangladesh tourism gained momentum in the 1980s. A national policy on tourism was announced in 1992 , but no change has been evident since its announcement. So there should be a new tourism policy, which should be in tune with the new national economic, social, environmental policies and trends. The new policy should recognise the roles of both the public sector and the private sector in the development of tourism. Page 33

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

 There should a National Committee on Tourism involving inter-sectoral agencies, the stakeholders, including the indigenous community, and the local youth. The committee will formulate a comprehensive plan for achieving a sustainable growth in tourism and look after its implementation.  The support for women to become self-employed through tourism-related activities should be linked with micro-credit programs.  Loans to women's initiatives should be included as a means of creating opportunities for the industry to buy and source locally, thus maximizing the benefits for local communities.  Training should also be provided to promote activities that are indirectly linked to tourism, such as printing, dying and folk-arts. Special training for women might be needed in many cases.  Development of the handicraft industry should form an important part of strategic planning for community participation in tourism, especially the participation of women.  Employers should set up programs and schemes encouraging women to move into nontraditional occupations, invest in women's training, appoint them in managerial positions, and re-appoint them after years of less involvement due to family responsibilities.  The tourism industry and tourism boards should abolish marketing strategies using women's stereotypical images as part of the product.  Employers should review their standards and criteria for employing women and men, and their policies to protect women from sexual objectification and sexual harassment by customers.  The development of tourist facilities should be taken up in a planned manner at government and non-government levels. Let tourism be considered a major instrument for social integration and economic development.  Steps should be taken to improve domestic tourism. This has increased during the last one decade. But there are no statistics on its growth.]  In order to speed up the development of tourism in the country, several thrust areas should be identified and steps should be taken accordingly. The important ones are development of infrastructure, products, trekking, winter sports, wildlife and beach resorts, streamlining of facilitation procedures at airports, human resource development, and facilitating private sector participation in the growth of infrastructure.  Parjatan Corporation and private tour operators should have field offices outside the country.  To boost tourism, the government should give this sector an Export House Status, like the garments industry. Incentives should be given to private investment in the tourism industry in the form of income tax exemptions, interest subsidy and reduced import duty. The hotel and tourism-related industry should be declared a high priority industry for foreign investment.

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Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

 Tourism should be integrated with all the national events, either cultural or religious. Let there be a calendar highlighting the events. Let there be a common website of the Parjatan Corporation and the private tour operators for facilitating dissemination of information on tourism in the country.  Let's make this year's World Responsible Tourism Day, November 14, a national event. Responsible Tourism Day, now an established date in the UN calendar, is a signal to the world that responsible tourism must now be top of the agenda.  E-tourism is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sectors. It also increases hardware and software purchases. E-tourism is also important for a developing country like Bangladesh, because it could generate employment and foreign currency earnings. Parjatan Corporation and the private tour operators should take it up seriously.  Tourism should be included as a subject at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education in the country. Serious research projects should be undertaken on responsible tourism. Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh will be glad to join in any such activities.  A National Responsible Tourism Award should be initiated immediately for those who make positive contributions to conservation and the economies of local communities while minimising the negative impacts of tourism.  Tourism is a publicity dependent industry. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and the TOAB Should prepare more dependable and attractive publicity items, including tour itinerary, for distribution.  The tourism industry in the country should have an effective marketing policy.

6.2 Policy Recommendations
 Budget tourism aimed at all age groups, particularly the young generation of backpackers needs to be developed, with economy travel, easing of visa formalities, dissemination of information and low-cost but comfortable accommodations, etc.  For learning lessons from other more successful groupings, visits of groups comprising of tourist officials, private sector entrepreneurs and journalists should be arranged. ! Investment opportunities with liberal incentives need to be communicated to both national and international investors.  Eco-tourism and Buddhist Circuit tourisms should be grounded on the premise of poverty reduction of local communities. Tourist facilities and products need to be developed with minimum ecological impact. Also, opportunities for employment generation and Page 35

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

income earning for the local communities are to be created. There is a project on Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program (TRPAP), run by Nepal. Experience and lessons can be learned from this project.  Human resource development for tourism through formal and informal education, training and exchange visits is of utmost importance for most of the BIMSTEC countries. ! The ministries of Tourism and National Tourism Organizations of the BIMSTEC countries need to be strengthened.  A drive for resource mobilization from external sources and development partners like ADB, ESCAP and other donors including Japan is to be initiated. The BIMSTEC Tourism Action Plan recognizes that international and regional organizations involved in tourism could play a significant role in the BIMSTEC initiatives for promoting tourism within and beyond. The ADB expressed interest in drawing up the detailed plan of action on development of tourism-related infrastructure, HRD for tourism, poverty alleviation programs and marketing of tourism products in member countries.  Quality of service needs to be improved. For the purpose, training at different levels – from top management down to door boys – should be initiated at national and regional levels. In this context, Thailand, the most successful country in tourism within BIMSTEC, can take the lead.  Strengthening by BIMSTEC of economic cooperation with Japan and other OECD countries will result in more business travel and tourism from these markets into the region. About 50 per cent of the Japanese tourists visit the Asia-Pacific countries. For this market segment, BIMSTEC countries can develop special tourism packages including the Buddhist Circuits.  In the area of environmental management, an integrated approach needs to be taken for ensuring sustainability. The good practices within the BIMSTEC countries in different areas, such as community-based resource management, energy efficiency and conservation, pollution management, disaster mitigation, etc. need to be disseminated to all the BIMSTEC countries. In this area, Japan, with its successes can be of great assistance. With financial assistance and clean technology transfer, Japan can greatly help the BIMSTEC countries. The model of voluntary partnership between the public and private sector of Japan should be a great learning for the BIMSTEC countries. Also, there are cooperation areas, such as coastal and marine protection and conservation of biodiversity that BIMSTEC countries can learn from the ASEAN group.

Bangladesh tourism sector has huge potentials. Experts are unanimous that Bangladesh has great potentials for the development of tourism in general and eco-tourism in particular. For this, the country needs to develop the overall infrastructure, arrange necessary facilities, develop the image of Bangladesh as a destination country, formulate right kind of government policy- supports, undertake creative promotional programs, ensure necessary security measures for tourist movements, etc. Bangladesh should gear up these efforts to uphold the position of this sector and keep it at least at par with its neighboring countries with a view to achieving its economic and social goals. There has been even greater emphasis on creating employment through both the domestic and international tourism demands, especially in the area where alternative economic development is not a cost-effective way. As Bangladesh has been suffering from an acute Page 36

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

unemployment problem and no alternative cost-effective avenue of employment has been developed, a greater emphasis on tourism development is essential for creating employment opportunities in this country. In the case of employment in Bangladesh, the industry has also great potentials as a provider of jobs. But only about three lakh people are directly and another 2 lakhs people are indirectly engaged with tourism industry in Bangladesh Since tourism is a multi-dimensional activity, and basically a service industry, it is necessary that all the stakeholders become active partners in the Endeavour to attain sustainable growth in tourism if Bangladesh is to become a world player in the tourist industry. Parjatan Corporation and the local tour operators are perhaps aware of the fact that tourism businesses express their commitment to community development and to social responsibility by giving donations, amongst other actions. In most cases, this type of action is carried out without any expectation of direct economic advantage, although in practice it can be used to improve economic gain. Tourism enterprises, such as hotels, which engage in such activities may be able to transform their commitment into image-improvement, which in turn results in economic value. Tourism's multifaceted role is of obvious importance to any developing or developed country. The contribution of this industry in the global as well as individual perspective is really astounding. But among the tourism exporting countries, Bangladesh's position is at the bottom of the list and only ahead of Bhutan. As such, the government, the tourism traders in the country, and other concerned should take immediate measures to develop this vital sector and enhance its contribution to its socio-economic activities of the country. It should be noted that 'development of tourism industry does not mean only an increase in earning of foreign currency from this sector'. Rather, the number of foreign tourists that arrive to a particular country is taken as the yardstick worldwide for measuring the development level of tourism Judged by any standard. Therefore, it is essential to rightly recognize and explore the potentials of this industry in Bangladesh immediately. We need to establish domestic tourism which is socially and psychologically acceptable, environmentally and ecologically sustainable, and economically viable. The benefits that are received from tourism should be fairly distributed, and then only will tourism be participatory, and, thus, the rights of local residents will be properly recognized, and tourism will be responsible and sustainable. If all these development, promotional and managerial strategies are undertaken and implemented in a an integrated manner by different role playing agencies, tourism sector in Bangladesh would definitely yield positive results in terms of exploitation of future potentials, maximization of foreign currency earnings, employment generation, and social and cultural development.

• • • • • • • • Building an image of Bangladesh as a tourism Destination: Some strategic guideline, DU Journal of marketing, volume No. 9, June 2006 Journal on Tourism by Prof. Afjal Hossain, University of Dhaka. Tourism in Bangladesh: Present status, problems and prospects by S.S.M Sadrul Huda, Journal of South East University , Vloume1, no.2, Dec 05 Ecotourism and Green Productivity in Bangladesh by Ruby Afroze Sustainable Tourism in Bangladesh perspective, The New Edition, July 5 Tourism attractions in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Quarterly, vol 12, No 6 Sustainable Tourism Development in Asia, a working paper of WTO Publication of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), Page 37

Sustainable Tourism Development in Bangladesh: Some Policy and Guidelines

• •

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