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Dhaka Tribune

Tourism board eyes community-based tourism across Bangladesh

Update : 22 Nov 2016, 12:29 AM
As part of its efforts, the authorities will help develop local community, promote their lifestyle and create employment opportunity. BTB will create an easy and flexible destination for tourists. Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board, said  they are planning to initiate community-based tourism in wide scale, utilising limited tourism resources. “Tourists have huge attraction towards local people’s lifestyle, their language, tradition and culture, which will fetch economic benefit,” he said. Under this process, locals will become the protectors of their property and tradition in order for economic benefit. Stressing the need for community tourism, the board has made efforts to ensure intensive development, engaging the stakeholders in the system and creating business opportunities for a sustainable management in tourism. A guideline will be incorporated for a sustainable community tourism, discussing with entrepreneurs and inbound tour operators in order to specify localities and types of products foreign tourists like most. The Ministry of Environment and Forest and its departments will also be engaged. According to BTB CEO, the community tourism will boost family-based income opportunity creating employment opportunities for local dwellers. Though community tourism concept is new in Bangladesh, developed countries are familiar with the theme over the last few decades while  India has started getting the fruitful result such tourism. An unfamiliar hilly village ‘Chuikhim’ in Shiliguri of the neighbouring country earned huge popularity because of community tourism which changed the fate of dwellers out there. The Maulinong village of Meghalaya bordering Sylhet’s Jaflong in Bangladesh has made another notable example and turned out to be a vibrant tourism destination. Over the last couple of years, community-based tourism is taking shape with the help of private initiatives in Moulvibazar, Satkhira, Tangail and the Sundarbans coastal areas. The tourism board is planning to widen the extent of tourism areas in the regions. Even BTB is planning to use the potential of its archaeological sites and boutique industry. The lifestyle of ethnic people has also got tourism potential. Mutual understanding and communication among locals, eradicating gender inequity, boosting skills, education and social awareness are required to ensure tourist-friendly vicinity. Terming it positive sign for tourism, TOAB Director, also CEO of Journey Plus, Toufiq Rahman said ensuring proper management and security for foreign tourists are the key to promotion of such kind of tourism. According to Bengal Tours Limited Managing Director Masud Hossain, orientation of locals dealing with foreign tourists is not enough to enhance community tourism, language barrier is also a key problem that needs to be addressed. To find a tourist guide is a big concern as it is tough to find  locals that can work as guide as they have little engagement with tourism. Mentioning the absence of proper guideline for community tourism, Akhtaruz Zaman said they would prepare a unified guideline discussing with the stakeholders and following example of other countries.
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