District Administration Bandarban role in the development of responsible tourism: Yasmin Parvin Tibriji

Cloudy mountains,silver rivers,rushing waterfalls and the green valley of the magical city of Bandarban.Every area of ​​Bandarban is decorated with offerings of boundless beauty.In each season One form of it.

As if nature has poured all the beauty here.It can be called either dream kingdom or kingdom of heaven.This hill district is unique in its diversity of language and culture and its multidimensional nature.Bengalis and various hill tribes live together in harmony,which is why Bandarban is called Bandarban of harmony.

Bandarban,the green land of the cosmos, has huge potential for tourism.Ecotourism, agro tourism and community based tourism can open new horizons of tourism here.

With the development of tourism industry in the district, the standard of living of the local small ethnic groups will also improve proportionately.

The number of tourists visiting Bandarban is increasing day by day due to its unique natural beauty,the diverse way of life of 11 small ethnic groups and the local culture.

In this cloud-mountain, the waves play with amazing beauty Due to the colorful culture and ethnic diversity of different peoples, the tourists come to Bandarban again and again.Tourists are fascinated by the clouds lurking along the hills,the winding mountain path,the Sangu river,the stream of eye-catching waterfalls.

There are numerous tourist spots in Bandarban,a land of natural beauty with endless potential for tourism.The highest peaks of the country are Tajingdong, Saka Huffong,Vijay,Keukradang and there are innumerable rows of hills.There are Nildiganta,Nilachal,Nilgiri,Chimbuk,famous tourist centers of Darjeeling in Bengal where you can easily touch the clouds.
In addition,there are eye-catching waterfalls at the foot of the hill Nafakhum, Amiyakhum,Rizhuk,Jadipai,Tinap Saitar, Kumari Jharna,Rupmuhuri Jharna,Rupali Jharna and many more.

The journey of Bandarban in the field of tourism started in 1990 with the construction of ‘Meghla’ tourist center by the then Deputy Commissioner.At present Nilachal, Shailprapat,Chimbuk,Devotakhum, Nilgiri,Nil-diganta,Tindu,Remakri, Tamatungi,Andharmanik,Boro madak, Bogalek,Keokradong,Munlaipara,Ali’s Cave, Marayantang,Mirinja,Upoban have been created.Tourists come to Bandarban to enjoy the beauty of about 150 to 200 small and big waterfalls after the monsoon, including boat trips on the Sangu and Matamuhuri rivers.

Apart from the tourist attractions, the ethnic diversity of Bandarban is one of the reasons for the immense potential of the tourism industry.The cultural diversity of 11 small ethnic groups,colorful costumes, their own eating habits,religious practices have made Bandarban unique.Although the new tourist destinations have become known to the tourists,the extraordinary ethnic identity of Bandarban has not yet been fully revealed to the tourists coming to Bandarban.

The more tourists can be associated with the culture of Bandarban, the more the tourism industry will develop and grow at the same rate.The Bandarban district administration has already started activities for this purpose.The district administration is highlighting the cultural heritage of the small ethnic groups of Bandarban to the tourists coming from home and abroad by organizing regular cultural programs during the tourist season.Through this cultural event held every week, on the one hand, tourists are getting to know about a completely new culture and in the same way they are being entertained in a variety of ways.Along with the natural beauty,this diverse cultural harmony will also bring tourists to Bandarban.

In the hills of Bandarban, there is fertile soil where a variety of crops are grown by cultivating in a specialized manner.Red /Black/White Binnichal,Papaya,Bengali Banana,Malta,Juicy Pineapple,Dragonfruit, Rambutan,Brazilian Fruit Japatika,Coffee, Almond and many other varieties of Mango such as Ranguai or Bukchera Mango, Amrapali,Banana Mango,Suryadim Mango etc.The people of Bandarban are producing.

In addition, Bandarban has a high demand for high quality turmeric, ginger and flower brooms all over the country.Agro-tourism can be developed through direct coordination of these crop producing farmers with the incoming tourists.The more these fruits are made available to tourists,the more positive the impact on the economy of Bandarban will be.Since many tourists find it difficult to carry these fruits and produce with them,there is an online buying and selling platform ‘EkShop’ to coordinate between them and the farmers of Bandarban.However,interested farmers are also able to connect with the buyer through this one shop.This one shop is run by the entrepreneurs of Union Parishad. However,interested farmers are also able to connect with the buyer through this shop.
As a result,The products produced by the farmers are easily reaching the hands of the buyers.

The culture of taking any famous food or traditional product of that place among the tourists when visiting any place exists in our country as well as all over the world.In continuation of this,by setting up marketing centers around various tourist centers of Bandarban,the agricultural products including shawls,mufflers,kathan-blankets made by the people of Bandarban are being delivered to the tourists.

The various small anthropological communities of Bandarban live in isolation by building machang-shaped houses in the folds of remote hills,most of them cultivate zoom and survive on the food grains produced.In addition to jhum cultivation, they make various handicraft wood and bamboo products in their spare time.But as they live in remote areas,they cannot arrange to sell these products.Although they have the opportunity to earn cash by selling these products.The district administration felt the need to market these visually pleasing household items with various traditional ornaments,bamboo and wood made by these marginal talented cottage industry entrepreneurs of Bandarban.

Experience has shown that tourists visiting Bandarban want to take the products produced here with them when they go.The district administration believes that the more patrons of these talented entrepreneurs, the sooner their products reach tourists, the sooner the socio-economic status of these backward people will improve, so the district administration has set up a “branding shop” at Nilachal Tourism Center where products made by marginal entrepreneurs Collected directly and sold through this shop.This has made it possible for tourists to establish direct links with entrepreneurs.Entrepreneurs as well as local helpless women have been provided employment in the shop as ‘salesmen’.

Another potential sector of the tourism sector in Bandarban is community based tourism.The specialty of this tourism is that the tourists stay in the houses of the local people.You can eat there and enjoy the beauty of the mountains and waterfalls.In this way, tourists can learn about the diverse lifestyle of the locals at low cost and enjoy the varied local food prepared by them.Local communities,On the other hand,benefit financially by providing housing and food.

Munlai Para Community Tourism in Ruma Upazila of Bandarban has already gained a good reputation in the country and there is a constant influx of tourists.In this case, the district administration is working to bring more neighborhoods under the purview of community tourism through local mobilization.

The safety of tourists is essential for the full development of the tourism industry in a region.The more visible steps can be taken for this purpose,The more tourists will be encouraged to visit these tourist places.Especially as a hill district,the district administration is working with priority so that the safety of the tourists of Bandarban does not become an obstacle in the development of the tourism sector of this district.With these issues in mind, the security personnel of Meghla,Nilachal and tourist centers run by the district administration have been provided with specific dress code with name badges. Signboards with security warnings have been erected at risky tourist spots. Initiatives have been taken to increase the number of tourist police in Bandarban.

Arrangements have been made to publicize it by attaching the numbers of Upazila Nirbahi Officers and officers in charge of police stations in various publications like websites,brand books,handbooks.

A ‘Travel Guide’ has been published in the form of a pocket book for tourists.The district administration is working with all stakeholders to make Bandarban a 100% safe tourist city,And as part of ‘Responsible Tourism’, the district administration has built private toilets for men and women in tourist centers and leased them to individuals.On the one hand,the leaseholder is earning as much as the tourists are able to use the clean toilets. In addition, considering the breastfeeding infants and mothers, a ‘Breastfeeding Corner and Mother’s Prayer Place has been set up in Meghla.A mosque with modern facilities has been constructed at Meghla and Nilachal.

According to the BIDS report,Bandarban is one of the poorest districts in Bangladesh. In order to improve the socio-economic condition of the people of this district, they have to make arrangements for their employment.For a long time,the people of this region had no occupation except zoom farming.It is possible to alleviate the poverty of the rural population by utilizing the immense potential of tourism created by the unprecedented development of communication system under the present government.There are trained registered tour guides for tourists.Numerous hotels, motels,resorts and accommodation facilities are being set up in every upazila under the patronage of government,private and individuals for the accommodation of tourists.

Hundreds of restaurants have been set up to provide traditional hill food and simple food.The locals of Bandarban are working in these hotels,motels,resorts and restaurants.The district administration is always trying to improve the quality of these hotel restaurants and arrange training of tour guides.The roads in Bandarban are spiral and steep where it is difficult to travel without specialized vehicles,resulting in the development of specialized vehicles.Tourists go to see the various waterfalls to including Tindu, Remakri,Baramadak,Andhar Manik, Nafakhum,Amiyakhum,Devotakhum, Velakum by boat.That is why there are specialized boats and there are trained sailors.

At the inaugural function of the Deputy Commissioners Conference 2022, Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed to take into consideration the needs of each district and make arrangements for rural employment and improve the living standards of the grassroots people. The Bandarban Hill District has immense potential for tourism, with countless places in each upazila attracting people who are thirsty for travel,So there is a great opportunity to develop community tourism with people from remote areas of the district.Incorporating agro-tourism and the culture of the region along with tourism will improve the quality of life of the people of the district even under the present conditions.Tourists are the blessing of the region.The district administration is working with all the institutions to implement various developmental and supportive activities of the government for the prosperity of the tourism industry.
With the successful implementation of the goodwill of the government for the development of Bandarban tourism industry,Bandarban will soon become a major tourist city of Bangladesh.Therefore, Bandarban district administration is giving utmost importance to the development of tourism industry.

Author:-Yasmin Parvin Tibriji,Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate, Bandarban Hill District.