ECO-TOURISM AND BANGLADESH ARMY: A FOCUS ON THE CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS
Keywords:ECO-TOURISM, BANGLADESH ARMY
Ecotourism provides opportunities for tourists to experience wonderful nature and local culture. At the same time, it generates income to local communities living in remote areas. With hills, valleys, forests, lakes and rivers, Bangladesh provides many ideal sites for ecotourism, though it is still a relatively new form of tourism in Bangladesh. Due to lack of integrated planning and infrastructure development, ecotourism projects could not be implemented. However, this can be developed in potential sites through proper planning and integrating Bangladesh Army with other stake holders. As such this study is undertaken and the objectives of this study is to examine the extent and nature of ecotourism in Bangladesh, to identify the role of Bangladesh Army in promoting ecotourism by focusing on the CHT and to furnish some policy framework and future recommendations. The study is conducted based on secondary sources, interviews to key informants, limited field visits, survey, personal observations and own analysis. The ecotourism implementation criteria are neither difficult nor very expensive. Thus, Bangladesh can implement ecotourism projects in untouched natural areas of the CHT. Security is one of the big challenges for implementing ecotourism projects in the CHT. However, this can be overcome through integration of Army, as they are presently deployed in the region. The construction projects run by SWO also ensure Army’s presence in the region. Thus it will be easy to implement ecotourism projects in the CHT integrating Army. But Army alone cannot implement this type of projects, other stakeholders of tourism sector also should be integrated in the overall framework and the framework has to be formulated through policy guidelines. Once the projects are implemented and the benefits are harnessed by the tribal communities, it would ensure permanent peace and stability in the regions after decade’s long bloodshed. This study recommends that; a high level committee involving all stake holders should identify the most potential ecotourism sites from Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati region for implementing such projects giving initial lead role to Army. Considering midterm and long term plan, initiative should be taken by MoCAT to activate all levels of action committee and allocate fund through concerned ministry/department. Media campaign with awareness programme should be under taken to promote ecotourism and attract the tourists from home and abroad.
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Rafi, Mohammad (Edited), Counting The Hills-Assessing Development in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Dhaka, The University Press Limited, 2001.
Workshop Reports/ Seminar Papers/ Research Papers
ESCAP Tourism Review No. 21, Opportunities and challenges for Tourism Investment: A Case Study of the People Republic of Korea and Report from Selected Countries in Asia and Pacific, New York, United Nations, 2001.
Wight, Ms. Pamela, Ecotourism Planning And Policy Development: Theme, A UNEP/WTO Summary of Regional Preparatory Conferences and Discussion Paper for the World Ecotourism Summit, 2002.
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Hossain, Md Sarwar, ‘Prospect of military tourism in Bangladesh’, The Daily Sun, Dhaka, 05 April 2014.
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Websites/ Online Documents
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Author’s interview with Md Maksudul Hasan Khan, Chairman, BPC On 02 July 2014 At Dhaka
Author’s interview with Mr Mueed Chowdhury (Ex Advisor to Care Taker Government and Ex Secretary to GOB), Chairman, Tiger Tours, on 15 May 2014 at Dhaka.
Author’s interview with Brigadier General Md Sarwar Hossain, hdmc, psc, Former Brigade Commander, Rangamati Hill District, on 25 March 2014 at Dhaka.
Author’s interview with Brigadier General Quazi Shamsul Islam, Commander, 203 Infantry Brigade, Khagrachari Region.
Author’s interview with Brigadier General Ridwan-Al-Mahmood, ndc, afwc, psc, Commander, 305 Infantry Brigade , Rangamati Region.
Author’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel Arif Uddin Mahmud, Staff Officer-1 (Project)- Special Works Organization (SWO) East, Chittagong.