Achieving Bangladesh's Tourism Potential: Linkages to Export Diversification, Employment Generation and the 'Green Economy'

85 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2014

See all articles by Dale Honeck

Dale Honeck

World Trade Organization - Trade in Services Division

Md. Shoaib Akhtar

Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI)

Date Written: August 26, 2014

Abstract

Bangladesh's international image is not as a popular tourism destination, and many people might be surprised to learn it has three World Heritage sites, including the Sundarbans tiger reserves. Moreover, it is part of important travel circuits for cultural and religious tourism, and has demonstrated potential for sports tourism.

The objective of this working paper is to critically test the assertion that pro-poor “green” tourism is one of the best development options for the majority of least developed countries (LDCs) — a challenging task in Bangladesh in the face of the country's success as an exporter of readymade garments — by comparing tourism to the available alternatives with regard to the crucial government priorities of export diversification, employment generation and the “green economy”. It is well-known that Bangladesh is under strong pressure to diversify its exports, to generate new employment (especially in rural areas), and to respond to critical environmental issues. The government has identified over 30 “thrust sectors” (including tourism) to help address these challenges, but otherwise tourism is rarely mentioned as a major trade and development option for Bangladesh.

Within the limitations of data availability, this working paper reaches the conclusion that greater efforts to develop “green” tourism would be highly beneficial for facilitating rural development, environmental and cultural protection, gender equality, and export diversification in services. The most obvious current impediments are inadequate infrastructure, lack of investment and (typically election year) political conflict, but behind these factors appear to be a serious lack of stakeholder coordination, insufficient regulatory and administrative transparency and coherence, as well as some government reluctance to relinquish greater commercial autonomy in tourism to the private sector. This paper offers extensive analysis and some suggestions to help address the impediments, including the recommendation to create a Bangladesh Tourism Stakeholders Forum.

Keywords: Bangladesh, LDCs, Export Diversification, Spatial Diversification, Rural Development, Comparative Advantage, Employment Generation, Green Economy, Green Tourism, Pro-poor Tourism, Tourism Linkages, Cluster Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Poverty Alleviation, MDGs, Gender Issues, FDI, GATS, Istanbul

JEL Classification: F13, F18, F63, H54, H77, I38, J16, J21, J24, L52, L83, O14, O15, O19, O24, P45, Q26, Q54, Q56

Suggested Citation

Honeck, Dale and Akhtar, Md. Shoaib, Achieving Bangladesh's Tourism Potential: Linkages to Export Diversification, Employment Generation and the 'Green Economy' (August 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542116 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2542116

Dale Honeck (Contact Author)

World Trade Organization - Trade in Services Division ( email )

154 Rue de Lausanne
CH-1211 Geneva 21
Switzerland
+41 22 7395149 (Phone)

Md. Shoaib Akhtar

Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) ( email )

TCB Bhaban (5th Floor)
1 Karwan Bazar
Dhaka, 1215
Bangladesh

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
97
Abstract Views
624
rank
366,011
PlumX Metrics