Can community-based tourism facilitate conservation of the Bangladesh Sundarbans?
Islam, MW and Rahman, MM and Iftekhar, MS and Rakkibu, MG, Can community-based tourism facilitate conservation of the Bangladesh Sundarbans?, Journal of Ecotourism, 12, (2) pp. 119-129. ISSN 1472-4049 (2013) [Refereed Article]
In many places, existence and development of tourism depend on the preservation and protection of the natural environment (Mazilu & Marinescu, 2008), which in turn depends on the level of dependence of the local communities on it (Bhattacharya, Lolita, & Ganesh, 2010). Therefore, a community-based approach towards tourism development has been increasingly promoted in many areas, including countries throughout South Asia (Bajracharya, Furley, & Newton, 2006; Shackley, 1994; Tisdell, 1997). Community-based tourism (CBT) is defined as the visitor–host interaction that has meaningful participation by both visitor and host, and generates economic and conservation benefits for local communities and environments (Jain & Triraganon, 2003). Under this approach, it is expected that the local community would plan, develop and manage CBT to maximise their benefits and minimise the negative impacts of tourism taking place within their societies (Ashley, 1998; Ashley & Ntshona, 2003; Hohl & Mamallacta, 2000; López-Guzmán, Sánchez-Cañizares, & Pavón, 2011; Steck, 1999). CBT involves the application of tourism as a tool to strengthen the ability of rural community organisations that manage tourism resources with the participation of the local community (Suansri, 2003). CBT is regarded as a tool for natural and cultural resource conservation and community development and is closely associated with ecotourism (Wood, 2007). In Bangladesh, CBT programmes have been recently initiated in several protected areas covering hill and deciduous forests under an ongoing Integrated Protected Area Co-management (IPAC) (2008–2013) project. Promoting and developing ecotourism and CBT as an alternative income generation (AIG) tool is an important component of the project (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]–International Resources Group [IRG], 2009).