Tourism is the greatest aid the world can give to support Poverty Alleviation and Social and Economic Development Work in countries like Bangladesh.
But there is a catch. Isn’t there always? Tourism can also destroy the very places that appeal most. Which is why the sustainable tourism, which we call Fairtrade Tourism, is so essential. Especially in Bangladesh, with up to 30% of the landmass under threat from climate change!
It is calculated that, in the whole African Continent, tourism revenues outweigh aid and development funds by nearly 100% Tourism is also one of the few economic developments that, by its nature, usually reaches the most remote and out of the way places, although constant vigilance is essential to ensure the benefits are shared by the people and the places in those parts.
Recognising that Bangladesh is in dire need of the development of the kind of revenue stream that tourism is capable of generating, but with no experience to undertake such development in an organized and systematic way, the investors in Tiger Tours, like the staff, have committed themselves to a mission, as well as a sustainable Social Enterprise.
It will not be easy to succeed. Already the usual suspects are appealing for grants for Research, Reports, Concept Papers, Seminars and Conferences.. some might say making their own contribution to climate change through the generation of hot air and forest destruction for the papers!
In the end, like everywhere else in the world, it is the doers, not the theorists who will make it work, or fail in the attempt! Bangladesh already has a considerable industry in internal tourism, but as in so many countries, the facilities that the internal tourists accept, or enjoy, are largely unsuitable for the international tourist. The plain truth is that, to most Bangladeshis, a holiday comprises endless plates of rice and hot chillie curry, and loud music 24/7. Not exactly what most better quality international tourists are seeking!
But if the infrastructure, expertise and experience is lacking, the tradition of hospitality is not. There are few, if any , places in Bangladesh where there will not be a warm and earnest welcome.
Until now, few international tourists could even locate Bangladesh on the world map, far less speculate on what they might find if they get there. Today, the mysteries of the country are unlocking. The places that may be of little interest to internal tourists who take them for granted, the endless waterways, with excellent access to places, and superb fishing; the ancient palaces, religious places and innovative programmes of human development; the hills, forests and wide open spaces; the beaches and cities offer experiences you can see, touch, inhale, taste, hear or simply intuit are finally accessible through Tiger Tours, the innovators of Fairtrade Tourism in Asia. Enjoy!