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Village Home Stay Ecotourism in Bangladesh Bangladesh is the youngest and the largest delta in the world.

Chhoto Hatiandaha, Aachol Kot, Rodhi Chamari, Narayanpur are four villages among more than sixty eight thousand villages of Bangladesh. They are located in the northwestern part of the country in the district of Natore one of the sixty eight administrative districts of the country a four hours journey by road from the capital, Dhaka. The villages of Bangladesh and the country itself are lush green all round the year full of trees and creepers. Chhoto Hatiandaha, Aachol Kot, Rodhi Chamari, Narayanpur are a bit more green than the others. People in the villages of Bangladesh live in harmony with the nature. In Chhoto Hatiandaha, Aachol Kot, Rodhi Chamari, Narayanpur, villagers have earthen houses as well as baked bricked houses built on three sides of the inner courtyard. They grow crops in the agricultural fields all round the year, one crop after another. Among the crops they grow are paddy, wheat, sugarcane, different types of pals, beans, mastered, maze, tamarind, onion, garlic, green chili etc. They also grow jute a natural fiber, and different types of vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, tomato, pumpkin, cucumber, peas, okra, carrot, marrow, eggplant and what not . Their ponds in the backyard produce fish. The ever smiling people are hard working. The family bondage among them is very strong three generation live in the same house. Marine Conservation Initiative South eastern coastal areas of Bangladesh under Coxs Bazar district is Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) declared by Government of Bangladesh in 1999 which includes coral bearing St Martin Island, Coxs BazarTeknaf peninsular beach and MoheshkhaliSonadia barrier Island. The project area covers a coastline more than 140 kms. The territorial marine water and coastal areas are provide diverse habitat including sandy shores, mangroves, rocky intertidal, mudflats and coral habitat collectively supporting some globally threatened marine species like sea turtle, cetaceans, shorebirds and marine invertebrate. Habitat destruction and alteration is major threats in the area. Several NGOs & government projects are working to save the areas since 1990s. MarineLife Alliance has taken initiative to conserve the marine biodiversity with focus to restore flagship species population. Current programs are taken to conserve sea turtle, cetaceans, water birds, and coral habitat. Included the efforts of our activity, monitoring and conservation of mega fauna is priority like turtle, cetacean, whale shark and water bird as a major group. Our activity included species protection with scientific monitoring, habitat restoration and protection through community participation. Other efforts are education, training and awareness to the community. More than two thousand school children has been motivated and educated thought community education and awareness program, offshore fishermen has been trained for bycatch reduction and monitoring. More than six thousand local people have been motivated by awareness program. Further initiative under this program is setting up education and research center, remote monitoring station, museum along the entire coast. Five education and research center has been established. Each of the education centers has been its own surrounding habitat based information to disseminate science based facts to the community people and visitors. MarineLife Alliance is going to establish education centers along the entire coast to establish community based sustainable marine conservation. Around 55000 sea turtle hatchlings have been released so far during Oct 2005- Dec 2008 into the Bay of Bengal. In-house

training has been provided to recruited local nature conservation activist for sea turtle and water bird conservation. What is community-based ecotourism? Ecotourism is a frequently debated term. Sometimes it is used simply toidentify a form of tourism where the motivation of visitors, and the sales pitchto them, centres on the observation of nature. Increasingly, this general sector of the market is called nature tourism. True ecotourism, however, requires aproactive approach that seeks to mitigate the negative and enhance the positive impacts of nature tourism. The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people. This definition not only implies that there should be a recognition of, and positive support for, the conservation of natural resources, both by suppliers and consumers, but also that there is a necessary social dimension to ecotourism. The term community-based ecotourism takes this social dimension a stage further. This is a form of ecotourism where the local community has substantial control over, and involvement in, its development and management, and a major proportion of the benefits remain within the community. How the community is defined will depend on the social and institutional structures in the area concerned, but the definition implies some kind of collective responsibility and approval by representative bodies. In many places, particularly those inhabited by indigenous peoples, there are collective rights over lands and resources. Community-based ecotourism should therefore foster sustainable use and collective responsibility.