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Community-based tourism as an alternative livelihood in rural coastal areas of Bangladesh: Gabura as a case

Raghav Syangadan


Tourism, the world’s largest and rapid growing industry of modern business world has emerged as major mode for income in many developing countries. Bangladesh, the county of natural beauty is blessed with endowment of almighty has enormous potential to develop tourism because of its attractive natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The south-western coastal area of Bangladesh, blessed with the world’s largest mangrove forest “Sundarbans” attracts thousands of tourist (domestic and international) every year to enjoy the taste of adventure of wildlife and its beauty of nature. But, the Sundarbans carrying immense potential of tourism and national assets is in depletion and is most threatened habitats in the world (Rahman 2009). The surrounding community with few alternative livelihood opportunities poses threat to the Sundarbans for destruction. Also, the southern coastal region of the country is also exposed to vulnerability of natural disasters. Living with physical hazards is an everyday issue for the people of this region (Rahim, Siddiqua et al. 2018). Different natural disasters cause widespread loss of lives, damage of properties, infrastructure and disrupt the coastal ecosystem in the coastal Bangladesh (Roy 2011). Hence resulting the unstable livelihood. No other than dependency to nearest source of income i.e. Sundarbans for livelihood is prominent. The potential tourist site attracts thousands of tourist yearly but the native communities are hardly participating in tourism industry, most of the benefits from tourism activities are captured by commercial enterprises (Iqball, Salequzzaman, 2010). That is why, re thinking in mode of tourism service is inevitable for Sundarbans centric tourism. The tourism that takes place in the countryside showcasing rural life, art, culture and heritage and benefiting local community economically and socially could be an alternative approach for sustainable livelihood i.e. Community-based tourism (CBT). By addressing this gap, the question which drives this thesis is ‘how the existing tourism resource can be used via Community-based tourism to attain sustainable livelihood in rural coastal area of Bangladesh.’ The major objective of the research to explore the possibilities of Community-based tourism through existing livelihood assets of Gabura union (southern costal rural community dependent to Sundarbans). Also to analyze the existing livelihood strategies. To sort out the tourism model for the implementation of potentiality of CBT. The research is conducted on a qualitative data analysis process which follows case study based approach. The content analysis method is applied through Nvivo to analyze data collected by semi-structured interviews and focused group discussion (FGD). Built environment and infrastructures are analyzed through photos and drawings at dwelling unit and homestead level and KII is executed to explore the possibilities of CBT. An effective tourism model for the implementation of potentiality of Community-based tourism in rural coastal area of Bangladesh will be the outcome of the research.

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