Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) has started to train youths of Sundarbans region as eco-guide for ensuring responsible tourism in the world’s largest mangrove forests.
“We would like to pick many educated and enthusiastic youth from Sudarbans adjacent to the district to make them eco-guide so that they can conserve unique nature and wildlife of the mangrove forest through ensuring responsible tourism,” Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon told BSS on Saturday, reports BSS.
BTB in cooperation with Bengal Tours Ltd, one of the largest tour operators in Sundarbans imparted a 10-day infield eco-guide training to 20 local youths including four females for Sundarbans last week.
The Minister said practice of eco-tourism is a must in the Sundarbans. The numbers of both local and foreign tourists is increasing in the Sundarbans day by day but we have scarcity of eco tourist guide and professional tour operators here.
He said on the one hand the eco-guides will ensure biodiversity conservation in the forest, it will create employment opportunities for the local educated youths on the other.
The minister has already urged the forest department to refer eco-guide to the tour operators when they give entry permission of any tourist group.
“If the tour operators hire an eco-guide along with forest guards whenever they bring tourist group in the Sundarbans, the visitors will be encouraged to practise responsible tourism during their stay in deep of the forest,” he said.
Noting the importance of Sundarbans as UNESCO world heritage, Menon said the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) put special emphasis on this world largest mangrove forest. “We received a proposal from United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to present the world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarbans, a UNESCO heritage, in front of international holiday makers in proper tourism-friendly way,” he said.
The minister said he will hold meeting with Forest and Environment Ministry soon to upgrade the existing Sundarbans Tourism Policy for supporting the tour operators to conduct responsible tourism in the region.
During the 10-day training, academic lessons were imparted in three days, awareness campaign in two days and in flied training for five days.
Chief Executive Officer of BTB Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir said currently the BTB is working to upgrade the modules of the training curriculum to make the eco-guide building process more effective.