Space For Rent
Tuesday, December 1, 2015, Agrahayan 17, 1422 BS, Safar 18, 1437 Hijri

Promoting tourism or damaging nature?
Fahmida Mazumder & Sanjana Zaman
Published :Tuesday, 1 December, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 23
The more our life becomes high-tech-dependant the more we need nature. We are living a life where we hardly encounter any human feelings, we have no choice but to live it. Sometimes we feel so exhausted, so empty, that our eyes become tired watching the enclosed sky, our senses become numb by the beating of hydraulic horns. We need an 'escape' from businesses, offices, homes, universities, colleges, schools. We just escape --- sometimes we call it 'going for a vacation.'
There was a time when people used to take a long time to plan their family or office tours or picnics that used to happen once in a year. Generally tours and picnics were planned during festival holidays or end of the year when kids would have vacations. They had to wait long for those holidays. Those destinations were also very limited to places like Cox's Bazar, Sylhet, Rangamati, and for a few adventurous people Bandarban and Sundarbans were the main attractions.
But the trend has changed a lot. Nowadays people are becoming more and more enthusiastic and adventurous to explore new places within the country. Instead of travelling known sites, now they prefer to explore new tourist spots, thanks to recent travelling blogs and groups. It has become easier for people to get ideas about new discoveries in Bangladesh. Although this travelling spirit is highly appreciable but do we know we are actually destroying those beautiful sites by dumping wastes and becoming threats for our own nature?
They say if your mind is a traveller, let your heart be the guide. Bangladesh is blessed with six different seasons with all their hues and charms but unfortunately we have failed to realize the extent of the blessing and could not be a tourism-friendly nation. Lack of proper knowledge and awareness we are damaging our beauty by ourselves day by day.
Let's start with the south-east part of our country. Our finite self get a sense of infinity in the world's longest sea beach Cox's Bazaar. At present, the beach is surrounded with high rise buildings. Even the mystical beauty of Saint Martin and Teknaf are now at stake. Unplanned hotel or motel constructions are taking place everywhere which are not even eco-friendly. In tourist season, overflow of travellers causes serious damage to the spots by throwing away wastage for instance --- empty chips packets, plastic bottles, food wastage and
what not!
Hill tracts of Bangladesh which have been among most attractive tourist destinations have also been compromised for recent security issues and hill politics. We have many untapped beautiful falls near Chittagong sea beach and Mirsorai which are beyond the knowledge base of the tourists.   
In greater Barisal division we have many hidden treasures for travel lovers for instance- 'Peyara Bagan' and 'Backwater Canal.' September and August are best times for travelling this area. Unfortunately, it is yet to be a popular tourist destination. Many of us are unaware of the lone floating market of Bangladesh which can easily compete with that of Thailand. Sad fact is where we have failed to uphold the charm of this place to the world India's Kerala is making millions out of their backwater. We are also blessed with a place like 'Kuakata' which is the only place of the country from where one can observe both the sunrise and sunset which has potential to attract scores of tourists from all corners of the world.
The major portion of world's largest mangrove forest Sundarbans is located in our beautiful Bangladesh. The government has successfully promoted this place for excellent eco and wildlife experience. Consequently the home of Royal Bengal Tiger is able to attract a lot of national and international tourists. Experts suspect and try all the time to alert the government and people that if the controversial Rampal project is carried out near Sundarbans, it will cause severe damage to the existing ecological balance of the forest. It would lose all its appeal and tourists might lose interest to visit there.
The north-eastern region of Bangladesh is blessed with colossal natural and mineral resources. These are mainly located around Sylhet, Habiganj and Shunamganj. Among all attractions Jaflong was considered to be a prime attraction but due to severe proliferation of land grabbers, the place has already lost its attraction. Even recently discovered 'Bichanakandi' which was unknown to many even three years back is now turned into a dumping ground due to lack of awareness. Recently some culprits have poisoned a prominent canal in the Ratargul Swamp Forest. This forest is one of 22 remaining freshwater mangrove swamps in the world. Besides, Bangladesh used to hold a fair near Shunamganj, hosting people from Meghalaya of India. But a recent rape incident near the border has changed the scenario and in consequence both the border and fair are now closed.
2016 is declared to be the 'Tourism Year' by Bangladesh government, and a study called 'Bangladesh Tourism Vision 2020' forecasts that tourist arrival to Bangladesh is likely to exceed 1.30 million by 2020. But are we really ready to serve all those internationals and growing inbound tourists with maintaining the sustainability of the destination? However, this tourism sector has a lot of potentials. So government should take adequate measures to serve all those tourists maintaining the natural beauty of the tourist spots.
Fahmida Mazumder and Sanjana Zaman are students of BRAC University

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]