Case Study: An Overpopulated Country – Bangladesh

Tourism management mainly aims to reduce negative impacts of tourism, so as to achieve a more sustainable form of tourism. Sustainability in this context refers to the ability to develop and operate tourism in a way that both satisfies current needs and assure future viability of the industry. It has been recognised that for sustainable tourism to be viable, efforts need to be made by both public sector and the private sector. Depending on merely market forces will not achieve sustainability.

The public sector, or mainly the government, can lay out laws and legislation, conduct research, as well as provide funds and expertise to aid sustainable tourism development and management, while the private sector can aid research in achieving sustainability, donate to funds and adopt sustainability into their tourism operations. The government can initiate sustainable tourism management. Negative impacts are felt by people involved in tourism, but most of the time, no actions were taken to remedy this problem. The public sector is often needed to initiate sustainable tourism management.

For example, since 1997, the Pattaya Rehabilitation Project, initiated by government authorities and community leaders, has been ongoing to reduce the severity of problems in Pattaya. Also, Zimbabwe initiated the CAMPFIRE program which aided ecotourism development in many communities. One problem faced in achieving sustainability is the availability of funds. It is often hard to gain financial support from the private sector when their motives are profit-based. The government can implement taxes on tourism to finance tourism management.

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For example, a US$90 tax on travellers entering the Seychelles. The revenue from this tax is used in environmental preservation and facilities improvements. Also, the government can provide expertise on sustainable tourism management to the tourism industry. A good knowledge of sustainability is seen to be required in order to plan an effective sustainable tourism strategy. For example, Zimbabwe initiated the CAMPFIRE program to provide knowledge and expertise to the rural communities in developing eco-tourism in their area.

Moreover, the government can implement laws and regulation for preservation and conservation. Many countries have established protect areas such as wildlife reserves and enacted strict laws protecting the animals that draw nature-loving tourists. As a result of these measures, several endangered species have begun to thrive again. For example, in the rainforest covered slopes of central Africa’s highlands, mountain gorilla reserves have been set up to protect this highly endangered species.

It has also been recognised that continual monitoring and research of the tourism industry using effective data collection analysis is essential to help solve problems and bring benefits to the tourism development, destinations, tourist and the local community. However, one limitation is that usually only the government has the means to encourage such research. In addition, the public sector can develop and improve infrastructure needed for sustainable tourism.

For example, in Pattaya, the Pattaya Rehabilitation Program has resulted in the development and operation of a much need facilities such as wastewater treatment plant, water reservoirs, roadways and commercial areas, as well as environmental development such as creation of parks. On the other hand, the private sector also plays an important role in managing tourism. The private sector can share information with the public sector to aid research in achieving sustainable tourism, as well as contribute to sustainable tourism by donations to funds financing sustainable management.

For example, Citigroup Foundation donated $150,000 dollars in 2006 to support the Rainforest Alliance, which promote sustainable tourism development in Latin America. Also, although the government can facilitate sustainable management, the effectiveness often lies on whether the tourism operations abide with sustainability. An example of such cooperation can be seen in Masoka, Zimbabwe, where safari operators remove the rubbish of safari hunters after each hunt. Moreover, the private sector can provide other forms of support to the government’s effort in managing tourism.

For example, in Pattaya, the Pattaya Chapter of the Thai Hotel Association and the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association played an instrumental role in rallying support from the private sector for sustainable tourism in Pattaya. But despite the efforts made, we have to consider how effective they actually are in managing tourism. Sustainable tourism as seen today is possible. Examples of successful sustainable tourism management include Pattaya in Thailand, and ecotourism in areas of Zimbabwe such as Masoka.

However, these successes are mainly the result of a well planned strategy, with sufficient funds, expertise, knowledge, and considerable efforts from both public and private sector. Cooperation between the public and private sector is essential for sustainability to be viable. Lack of cooperation can often result in limited success in achieving sustainability. For example, in Zimbabwe, authority to manage the wildlife resources is actually in the hands of rural district councils, which have a responsibility to devolve management authority to communities themselves.

Not all councils have been willing or have made sufficient effort to devolve authority to these communities. As a result, this created a barrier to achieving sustainability through conservation in these areas. This comes to yet another problem, which is that the private sector should not only include commercial companies. It should also include local communities. It is widely recognised that involvement of the local communities is one of the key to achieving sustainable tourism. Another limitation is that due to profit motives, the private sector may be unenthusiastic in developing sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism requires efforts such as cleaning up pollution and improving infrastructure, as well as limiting tourist number to a manageable figure. These can translate to a reduction in overall profits as operational costs increases and overall revenue falls. Also, sustainable management often require large funds in developing needed infrastructure and expertise and knowledge in management. This may not be available to some countries. However, it can be seen today that the severity of this problems are reduced with support from international agencies such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

Lastly, one mistake seen in trying to achieve sustainable tourism is the undermining of local community’s involvement. It has been recognised that one of the key to achieving sustainable tourism is a high involvement of local community in the planning, management and operation. Therefore, the private sector should not only include commercial companies, but also the local community. In conclusion, both the public and private sector are important in managing tourism. Successful tourism management requires an adequate level of cooperation between the authority, commercial companies and local communities.

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