image_2

RI-UK also organized a series of 3 community-based ecotourism workshops at Bania Shanta and Kailasganj areas of Khulna District to build the capacity of the local people on cultural ecotourism. These locals belonged to the communities where eco-tour sites will be set up. The objectives were to appraise them about the difference between vessel tourism and cultural ecotourism, to upskill them on community-based hospitality management so that they can serve tourists more efficiently, and to create awareness about the role of local people to conserve the Sundarbans mangrove forest. The workshops were conducted using the participatory approach so as to allow participants to share their ideas and opinions. A total of 54 participants received training, of which 15 were women. All of the participants were members of the local community, which includes young and dynamic individuals with great potential and the unemployed who possessed alacrity from the rural regions.

The workshop was divided into five segments. In the introductory segment, RI-UK and its project on ecotourism were introduced to the participants. In the second segment, participants were explained the differences between vessel tourism and ecotourism. The third segment dealt with hospitality management and income improvement through ecotourism. Participants were taught that hospitality and cordiality are of critical importance in tourism, which attract tourists from home and abroad. A proper and systematic management system could improve the tourism sector, particularly in case of community-based tourism. In the forth segment, the role of the local people in forest conservation and establishment of ecotourism were addressed. Participants were explained that locals are key actors in Sundarbans conservation through sustainable use of resources and learning skills related to ecotourism. Locals can also benefit from ecotourism by learning leadership skills; gaining from community empowerment; gaining alternate income sources; reaping advantages of forest conservation; and many more. In the fifth and final segment, recommendations were made by the participants. Locals expressed that they require more training on ecotourism and hospitality. They also require training on how to adopt practices related to proper sanitation and hygiene with regard to serving tourists and they desire training on health and safety with regards to ecotourism.