Our tiny village is equal to mother,
It served lives with light and air.
Ponds are filled with water, fields with rice,
The moon’s rays gleamed our eyes.
Renowned poet Bande Ali Mia’s poems reflect the marvelous beauty of our villages. Village means a green, quiet, shady, picturesque settlement. There are crop field on the horizon, Lot of water lilies and lotus blossom in canal and marsh lands are impressive. The village means the music of birds, the call of crickets and the dreamy flight of fireflies. Every village of Bangladesh is covered with its magical and unique natural beauty. At the same time the immense beauty of villages are eye-catching and varied. The villages shaped its beauty into new form with the change of seasons.
This year, World Tourism Day is being celebrated under the theme "Tourism & Rural Development". One of the notable promises of the current government's election manifesto 2018 is "Villages will be Town", which is very much in line with the theme announced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization this year. The main objective of the government in transforming the village into a city is to bring the emergency facilities of the city to the village without demolishing the agricultural land and rural heritage.
The services that will prevail are improved access to health care, education, electricity, drinkable water, employment and communication for the rural people. All these are associated with rural tourism activities. In other words, the rural tourism program is an important part of the government for the transformation of villages into cities. In the current context of Bangladesh, rural recreation and rural tourism development is essential for poverty alleviation and massive employment generation, boosting the rural economy and transforming villages into cities. We have to establish each village as unique tourist destination. So that, tourists can visit these villages to create employment along with financial activities in rural areas.
In this time service sector is one of the growing area of the world’s economy. Tourism industry is the great partner in the service sector. It’s actually considered as an integrated and labor intensive sector of various industries, services and functions. Rural tourism has become quite important at present among the various categories of tourism. The concept of rural tourism can bring socio-economic and environmental well-being to the rural community by reviving the conventional notions of tourism and ensuring sustainable development of a particular country. Previously the concept of rural tourism was confined to conventional farm-based or agricultural fields. Over time, the issue has taken on a much wider scope, including the rural environment, water and land based activities, cultural activities, agriculture, traditional food, health. It provides a great opportunity for tourists to experience the carefully nurtured traditions, way of life, culture and culture of the local people of a region which cannot be realized in urban areas. In contrast to conventional tourism, rural tourism provides an ideal opportunity to get accustomed to the local traditions of a country in the vicinity of natural beauty. Rural tourism can be developed in the three districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. In the districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, we should not establish heavy industries due to the existing natural features. Therefore, development of tourism industry based on natural landscape and characteristics of local people is the only way. In order to develop tourism by involving the small nationalities in these districts, the indigenous people need to be given ownership of the tourism resources and a sense of ownership should to be instilled in them. These will protect the tourist attractions of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the pursuit of income and employment.
Attracting foreign tourists is essential to keep the wheel of the rural economy moving. That is why we have to highlight the rural traditions in an aesthetic way. Our rural traditions are rural social system, traditional farming of agricultural land, traditional folk music, preparation of local food, chira, puffed rice, parched rice, date payes, matha etc. These are the things tourists want to see and enjoy. Public and private initiatives are needed to promote these products and make them attractive to tourists. Nowadays many tour operators take tourists to the village to show them the rural lifestyle. Thus the rural people do not benefit much. Tourism benefits are not accessible to the rural people. The active participation of rural people is needed for these works. In this case, the cooperation of the local administration is more needed. When a rural woman makes parched rice or puffed rice, or a scene of a rural farmer harvesting paddy, or a scene of a pot of juice being taken down from a palm tree. This will increase their income and carry out tourism activities along with other normal activities in order to survive.
For the development of rural tourism in Bangladesh, agro tourism, river based tourism, haor tourism, ecotourism, community tourism etc. can be divided into several specific categories. Among the agro-tourism, one of the major attractions of rural Bengal is its own farm and land farming system, harvesting scene, irrigation system, harvesting, drying of paddy by rural women, blowing of paddy and paddy baking. In addition, ecotourism can be a natural landscape of rural Bengal, rivers, canals and the biodiversity of various species including native fish, animals. Community based tourism can be the ultimate way to develop rural tourism. The basic idea of community tourism is to highlight and engage the people and nature of a particular area. Get to know the people and their lives here and present their culture with respect. Besides, the marginalized people of the village will directly benefit from this. Such management strengthens the foundation of socio-economic development, creates massive employment which will help increase the contribution of tourism to the economy. Community tourism is one of the tools for socio-economic development of an area. Community tourism is one of the means to preserve the language, food, culture and heritage of the ethnic groups. Though the idea of building tourism business at the marginal level is new in our country, it has been prevalent in the developed world for a long time. Home stay is an adjunct to community tourism. "Home stay" can accelerate the economic development of an area. Home-stays have become popular in India's hill tourism industry. Home-stay is popularizing the unconventional tourist centers there So the process of putting these home-stays on the website of the Department of Tourism is underway to bring them together and reach more people. Homestay is also a popular housing solution in Nepal. There are about 300 home stays in Nepal. They are promoting their rural tourism system around fishing and boat building activities in the Maldives. Being a riverine country, the river has close ties with most of the villages in Bangladesh. The river is associated with the livelihood of most of the people in the village. More than two hundred rivers including Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Surma, Karatoya, Brahmaputra are flowing through most of the rural areas. In addition to rivers, there are thousands of canals, beels, haors and baors. Water bodies that can be seen in every village. These reservoirs are the main source of beauty and diversity of the villages. Just as the names of the villages in Bangladesh are beautiful, so are the names of most of the beautiful haors, baors and beels. Such as Hakaluki Haor, Chalon Beel, Bill Dakatia, Tamabil, Tanguar Haor etc. In the villages of the Haor region, the combination of water and land is so beautiful that it is hard not to feel it. It is good to know that 6 northeastern districts of the country Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Sylhet, Moulvibazar and parts of Brahmanbaria districts are identified as Haor region. The development of haor based tourism system will create massive employment in the villages around the haor which will play a role in the rural economy. Tourism is an innate human instinct. People can come in contact with each other through different places and learn about different cultures, civilizations, traditions and nature. Known as the green land of natural paradise, Bangladesh is a country with endless potential for tourism. All the elements to attract any tourist in the world exist in this country of immense beauty. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) will be possible if we focus on creating employment and alleviating poverty through rural tourism development by projecting our rural beauty and culture to the world.