In an effort to attract tourists, authorities at the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans, are spending around Tk25 crore to facilitate eco-friendly tourism.
About 30% of the work of the ongoing project to develop four new tourist spots has been completed, with officials hoping to complete it by the end of this year.
The centres at Shekhertek and Kalabagi in Khulna Range of Sundarbans, Alibandha of Sarankhola Range and Andharmanik of Chandpai Range are being developed western and eastern forest divisions of the Sundarbans by the forest department.
According to officials, there are currently seven tourist centers inside the forest where about 200,000 tourists travel annually and the number is increasing every year.
Under the new project, seven fiber body trawlers, three pontoons and gangways, three kilometers of RCC roads, six public toilets, excavation of eight and a half thousand cubic meters of pond, watchtowers and foot rails to enter the forest are being developed.
It also aims towards the socio-economic development of the local community to reduce their dependence on the forest resources.
“The government has taken some steps to develop eco-tourism in the Sundarbans in the future. There are seven ecotourism sites in the Sundarbans (Karamjal, Harbaria, Katka, Kachikhali, Dublar Char, Hiron Point and Kalagachhi),” said Khulna Forest Conservator Mihir Kumar Doe.
Several places are being expanded and in that light, four new eco-tourism centers are being developed, he said.
Mihir further added that Shekhertek of the Khulna Range has an ancient temple. Due to lack of infrastructural facilities, many cannot go there despite their interest.
Work is underway to set up an eco-tourism center there. In addition, another eco-tourism center is being set up at Kalabagi in Dakop.
The project started in 2021 is set to be completed this December, he added.
Located in the Southwest coastal region of Bangladesh, the Sundarbans consists of about 200 river islands separated by almost 400 interconnected tidal rivers, canals and creeks.
There are about 50 species of mammals, 320 species of inland and migratory birds, 50 species of reptiles, eight species of amphibians and 400 species of fish, according to Banglapedia.