The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA) jointly organized a Bandarban Destination Management Plan (DMP) Validation Workshop in Bandarban Sadar, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh on 28 March.
Some of the delegates on hand for the proceedings, included:
During the technical session, 86 key tourism stakeholders, representing community-based organisations, the private sector, media, and the government, participated in group exercises to generate ideas for collaborating with one another to promote inclusive, equitable, and responsible tourism at different governance levels ranging from the district to national level.
At the workshop, a poster illustrating the Bandarban Tourism Vision Tree with its roots symbolizing a tourism multi-stakeholders partnership was unveiled. The participants endorsed the Bandarban DMP and expressed their commitments to a strong and long-term collaborative partnership to its implementation by signing their names on the poster.
Bandarban – also known as the roof of Bangladesh - is the natural and cultural heart of the Chittagong Hill Tracts region. It has gained steady popularity in recent years as a must-visit destination for tourists interested in adventures, hill cultures, and heritage.
The validation workshop can be seen as a milestone in the ongoing partnership between ICIMOD and MoCHTA – formalized in 2013 to collaborate for the sustainable development of hill areas in Bangladesh.
As part of that partnership, the Himalica project – funded by the European Union and managed by ICIMOD – partnered with the Bandarban Hill District Council of MoCHTA to develop sustainable tourism value chains in Ruma Upazila in Bandarban District with the aim to increase the resilience and livelihood opportunities of poor and vulnerable local communities.
To that end, the Himalica BHDC developed a Bandarban DMP through a series of participatory and inclusive multi-stakeholders consultative processes.
It is hoped the implementation of the now-endorsed Bandarban DMP will help bring structure to tourism planning and development processes, minimize the negatives, and maximize the positives associated with tourism value chain development. Moreover, it is hoped this work will help forge long-term collaborative partnerships with various tourism stakeholders to actualize the Bandarban Tourism Vision.