Patronisation of both government and the forest department is needed for development of tourism industry in the Sundarbans, said speakers at a discussion yesterday.
The meeting organised by Bengal Tours on roles of the local media in development of positive tourism in the Sundarbans was held in Khulna yesterday. Masud Hossain, executive director of Bengal Tours, presided over the meeting, where Md Akbar Hossain, conservator of forests in Khulna circle, was present as chief guest.
The discussion focused on prospects of tourism by conserving biodiversity of the world’s largest mangrove forest. Bengal Tours placed a six-point proposal for flourishing tourism in the Sundarbans, which can contribute huge revenue earnings to the state coffers.
The proposals are: constructive criticism of forest officials, creation of a separate tourism zone, arrangement of safe journey for tourists, formulation of code of conduct for visiting tourists, creating awareness to protect biodiversity and environment, and formulation of guidelines at the state level to develop tourism in the Sundarbans.
In his speech, Akbar Hossain dwelt on different plans and programmes of the forest department and the government. He denied allegations of rampant corruption of forest officials and harassment of tourists while getting permission to visit the forest.
Speakers of the discussion meeting said interests of dwellers around the Sundarbans must be protected as they live by age-old traditions of wild-honey collection and fishing.
The royal Bengal tiger, king of the forest, is also an attraction for tourists although they may not always have a chance to see them, said Masud Hossain.
Unesco declared the Sundarbans in 1997 as world heritage site, which is unique as the habitat of the royal Bengal tiger.