Roadmap for Tourism Development of Bandarban Hill District Launched

   TwitCount

The government of Bangladesh has initiated steps to develop the Chittagong Hill Tracts—known for its natural endowment of hills, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls—as a tourism hub of international repute. 

Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Rashed Khan Menon spoke about these efforts at the launch of the Tourism Destination Management Plan (TDMP) for Bandarban Hill District. The launch was jointly organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA) at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka on 25 May.

Menon called on the private sector to join forces with the government to develop the country's tourism infrastructure around its natural and historical sites.  

The TDMP, a joint product of MoCHTA and ICIMOD, underscores the need for the integration of different sectors of the economy for tourism development.  

MoCHTA Secretary Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura praised the successful partnership between ICIMOD and the Ministry in piloting inclusive, equitable, and responsible tourism development in Ruma Upazila as part of the EU-funded Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya (Himalica) initiative. He expressed his wish that technical support from ICIMOD will be forthcoming even after the Himalica project expires by the end of 2017.

MoCHTA Additional Secretary Kamal Uddin Talukder noted that the TDMP for Bandarban provides a blueprint for tourism development in Bandarban District, and that its implementation can contribute to the attainment of some of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

MOCHTA and ICIMOD, including key partners such as the Bandarban Hill Development Council, are involved in the Himalica pilot project in Ruma Upazila, using a tourism value chain development approach, centered around coffee, cashew nuts, handicrafts, homestays, transport, local cuisines, and attractive destinations.

Regional Manager of the Adaptation to Change Programme at ICIMOD Dhrupad Choudhury noted that the TDMP is crucial to rallying key government bodies, private sector actors, and local communities around sustainable tourism development in Bandarban. He also underscored the need to address seasonality, low quality of services, and limited access to finance for micro tourism entrepreneurs to drive tourism growth in Bandarban Hill District. 

The TDMP is also seen as a tool to upscale good practices and lessons learnt from the Himalica pilot project in Ruma Upazila (sub-district level) to Bandarban (district level).