After the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the whole world is now focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals. Bangladesh is a great example of a country which has achieved most of the MDGs. It is a country that is now trying to embark on the right track to achieving the SDGs.
Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries in the world. This industry is a significant source of foreign exchange and employment for developing countries all over the world. In the context of sustainable economic growth, employment-generation tourism can be an effective tool in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development Goals number eight, 12, and 14 are quite relevant in regards to the development of the tourism industry. Goals 13, 14, and 15 are connected to the sustainability of the environment, which can also contribute to eco-tourism development. Eco-responsible tourism is an essential part of sustainable tourism development.
SDG number eight says: “Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.”
In line with this goal, target 8.9 delineates: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.” Here, the contribution of tourism to job creation may be recognised. The tourism industry can be the largest employment generation if proper allocation is made for sustainable project implementation.
For achieving the SDGs through tourism, we need cooperation from various ministries as well as private tourism stake-holders
Goal number 12 spells out: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” Target 12b of this goal says: “Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, and promotes local culture and products.” We can relate this to the tourism sector as well. If the tourism sector adopts sustainable consumption and production practices, it can play a significant role in accelerating the global shift towards sustainability.
Goal number 14 describes: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.”
To achieve this goal, target number 14.7 says: “By 2030, increase the economic benefits of Small Island Developing States and LDCs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including thorough sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.”
In line with this, we can link the development of coastal and marine tourism, which are the biggest segments of the tourism industry, particularly for small island developing states. Tourism development must be a part of integrated coastal zone management for conserving and preserving fragile eco-system and serve as a vehicle to promote the blue economy.
For the successful achievement of SDGs, just like certain other sectors in our country, tourism has great potential.
Now, we need to undertake some specific programs in the context of the seventh Five-Year Plan targeting the SDGs. The programs need to be implemented properly and timely.
The tourism policy also focuses on sustainable tourism development of Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh has already undertaken various programs in line with the SDG targets.
Meanwhile, the government has enacted various laws for sustainable growth, employment generation, and women empowerment. For achieving the SDGs through tourism, we need cooperation from various ministries as well as private tourism stake-holders.
All of us have roles to play in various spheres targeting the SDGs. We are hopeful Bangladesh can again be a great example of meeting the SDGs.
Md Ziaul Haque Howlader is Manager, BPC.