Published : Wednesday, 27 September, 2023 at 12:00 AM Count : 429
Md Anowar Hossain Bhuiyan
World Tourism Day (WTD) is observed on September 27 every year as an official announcement of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This year the theme of this day is 'Tourism and Green Investment'. The host country for the WTD celebration this year is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The country is trying to reduce dependency on a petroleum-based economy through tourism development. Tourism development in KSA is encouraging huge investment in tourism infrastructure like hotels, resorts, transportation, communication connectivity, airlines, and tourist attractions development. Green investment is necessary for the tourism sector in KSA to reduce negative impacts as well as sustainable tourism development.
The overall objective of green investment is to contribute to green growth in the tourism sector. It provides economic benefits to increase tourist arrivals and receipts through sustainable tourism offerings. Environmentally, green investment in tourism reducesthe intensity of energy, water, natural resources, emissions, and waste per tourist. Socially, communities can enhance their participation in and benefit from tourism activities. Economically, green investment isa powerful tool to attract consumers' and industry's attention for decoupling economic growth from resource and energy consumption and the pursuit of resource efficiency. In the impact areas, green investment in tourism impacts natural resources (forests, lakes, rivers, water bodies, biodiversity, etc.), energy and water, emissions and waste, community, tourist arrivals, and tourism receipts. Green investment is addressing the tourists, industry, and local communities to green the tourism value chain.The target stakeholders for green investment in tourism are the government (state and local authority), tour operators, tour guides, accommodation providers, transport, retail, hospitality service providers, community, and tourists. Green investment canincrease productivity through energy efficiency, create sustainable supply chains towards greener products and services, apply reporting for better management, to undertake regular maintenance and responsible waste management.
Bangladesh is full of tourist treasures such as beaches, lakes, rivers, hills, forests, wildlife, tribal life, archaeological remains, historical monuments, religious and cultural heritages, and handicrafts that offer great value for tourist attractions. The tourist treasures have developed Bangladesh as a suitable travel destination for visitors from home and abroad. The country can attract around one million foreign tourists and about 15-18 million domestic tourists every year.Recently,the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) has formulated the Tourism Master Plan (TMP) for comprehensive and sustainable tourism development in the country. The TMP has identified 1200 potential tourist sites in the country classified into specific segments. The plan identified several initiatives for tourism development in the country such as tourism product development, marketing and branding, and research and development initiatives. The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) is developing three exclusive tourism zones based on the Bay of Bengal for the massive development of tourism activities in the country. Moreover, the GOB has facilitated the investors to develop 100 exclusive economic zones in the different parts of the country. These development initiatives will increase the demand for tourism activities in the country.Bangladesh needs several initiatives like as tourism infrastructure, transportation connectivity, tourist facilities, tourist spots development, and tourism package development. These initiatives require huge investments from domestic and foreign for tourism development. Bangladesh is a small country with overpopulation and a host of diverse beauties. The country is emphasizing sustainable tourism development to reduce the negative impacts due to tourist activities. Green investment is necessary to ensure sustainable tourism development in the country as well as attract tourism from home and abroad.
The goal of green investment is to contribute to economic progress, particularly in terms of income generation, and sustainable, and inclusive tourism development in the country. Traditional investments only promote economic growth and productivity whereas green investments are concernedwith people, the planet, prosperity, and green growth. Moreover, green investment is considered a new interest for international bodies, development partners, governments, financial institutions, and private investors to implement new investment opportunities in tourism development. Green investment in tourism positively impacts environmental aspects such as natural resources (forests, lakes, rivers, water bodies, biodiversity, etc.), emissions (GHG emissions, air pollution), energy, water, and waste, and increases carrying capacity.Green investment is also helpful for local tradition and culture, ensures community participation, and increases tourism receipts. The result areas of green investment in tourism are unique tourism packages (products and activities), tourism segmentations (ecotourism, agro, medical, business, and events), destination management, accommodations (hotel, homestay), instruments (WTP, PES), tour operators and guides and change the behavior of tourists. Green investment is socially acceptable in terms of environmental well-being, health and safety issues, lifestyles, and sustainable manner.
A holistic approach and alternative strategies are necessary for promoting green investment in tourism development in Bangladesh. Green investment needs much attention from the stakeholders- tour operators, tour guides, hotel operators, homestay operators, community, tourists, and government. Several initiatives are necessary to promote and successfully implement green investment in the tourism development of Bangladesh. Firstly, regulatory instruments like laws and regulations support and promote green investments in the tourism sector in the country.Government actions are needed in training, coordination, cooperation, marketing, and branding of tourism development through green investments.Secondly, economic instruments for promoting green practices like energy saving and green technologies are attracting foreign and domestic direct investment in tourism development.
Finally, proper monitoring and evaluation can ensure to understandingof the actual progress of government interventions for green investments.Green investment is to seize the long-term economic, social, and environmental benefits of all stakeholders to contribute to the achievement of sustainable tourism development. Moreover, green investments should be recognized as a green growth milestone for all tourism segmentation policies, tourism packages, products, and services within 2030.
The writer teaches at National University, Bangladesh