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Dhaka workshop on Community based Ecotourism Model in Sundarbans

Orientation Workshop on Youth Integrated Community based Ecotourism Model (CEM)
A concern of International Climate Champions March 05, 2010 British Council Auditorium, Dhaka

Program Schedule

9:00 –9:30 Registration

9:30 – 9:45 Introduction of participants

9:45 – 10:00 Tea break

10:00 – 11:00 Sustainable Tourism in Bangladesh Majbritt Thomsen
Founder of

11:00 – 11:45 Discussion session on Sunderbans and Ecotourism Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur Education and Training Coordinator Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project

12:00 – 1:00 Setting the objectives and Strategies for Community based Ecotourism Model Adnan Sirajee Country Coordinator Bangladesh Youth Climate Network (BYCN)

Interested to join? Please confirm your participation to Adnan Sirajee at by 12:00 PM, Thursday (04 March 2010). You are welcome to bring a friend, but do notify me about that before hand.

International Climate Champions (ICC)
Project Briefing Note: Youth Integrated Community based Ecotourism Model

How it began: Under the umbrella of International Climate Champions (ICC) programme, students from all spectrums can now join in developing a youth integrated ecotourism model in Sunderbans. British Council owns the ICC programme globally and in Bangladesh, the strategic partner is Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies (BCAS). Under this programme, students are pioneering a unique model to institutionalize ecotourism in Bangladesh.

Not a conventional model: The term ecotourism ever since coined has taken many shapes and forms. Theoretically speaking, it translates into ecologically friendly tourism practices. However, the concerned project – Community based Ecotourism Model (CEM), as suggested by its name has some features that plans to benefit the community as a whole. We are essentially trying to introduce a business model that would otherwise help the community members establish tourism products and services that can be catered to eco-tourists such as student groups, researchers and backpackers. In a sense, the proposed model slightly varies from the conventional model of ecotourism that is often found in the literature.

Tourism, a steady hand in times of change: However, CEM is going to feature some development tools that would help the community to generate alternate livelihoods besides the agriculture and fishing industries that are widely in practice amongst the Sunderban communities. The thinking behind such initiative is that if and when a community is inflicted by challenges of climate change and environmental degradation (such as shrimp cultivation in the South, salinity of land as a result of a sudden cyclone storm, water logging etc.), they would have an alternate livelihood to turn to. Besides these, the communities living in the bordering zones of the forest are also heavily reliant on its various resources, as a result of which the Sunderbans have shrunk over the last few decades. The project envisions in providing a market based incentive for the communities to preserve the forest and thus conservation becomes automated.

Why Youths matter: We plan to assemble this model by bringing together a perfect mix of youths from different academic backgrounds such as Environmental Science, Business Management, Architecture, Mass Media and Medicine. The l idea is to work with one single community from the Sundarban areas that are prone to climate change and environmental issues. Students who are committed in the project are expected to come up with a strategic and eco-friendly business model that can be replicated in other areas. The flagship ventures will thus focus on: 1) Better projection of local knowledge and indigenous technologies, 2) Development of local tourism information centre for knowledge dissemination and training modules for ecotourism guides and 3) Build local capacity for tourist hospitality and accommodations. For example: the indigenous knowledge can be projected through guided tours with the honey collectors while accompanied by local eco tourist guides to explain the day to day struggle of that community. Business students can develop a community tourism information centre while the environmental students can develop a training module for ecotourism. Similarly, the Architecture students can help the community to develop low cost housing for tourists that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

The Afterthought: The expected outcome from this exercise will be quite abstract. Besides providing the group of students with this unique opportunity to blend with the a community, the experience itself is going to build some social capital with regards to climate change and environmental challenges, which the students are expected to carry forward to their future work scopes.

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