Ecotourism

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APPLICATION OF GIS IN ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT:
A CASE STUDY IN SUNDARBANS, BANGLADESH

A Masters Thesis
Presented to
Mid-Sweden University

In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts, Human Geography Focusing on Tourism

By
Md. Azizur Rahman
June 2010

Copyright 2010 by Md. Azizur Rahman

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APPLICATION OF GIS IN ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT: A CASE STUDY
IN SUNDARBANS, BANGLADESH
Department of Social Science

Mid-Sweden University, June 2010
Master of Arts
Md. Azizur Rahman

ABSTRACT
GIS can be used in tourism as a decision supporting tool for sustainable tourism planning, impact assessment, visitor flow management, and tourism site selection. Therefore, the potential for GIS applications in tourism is significant. The purpose of the study was fixed to explore the potential of using GIS for planning resources pertinent to ecotourism development. The study investigated a case study in Sundarbans which is the largest mangrove forest region of the world, located in the southern part of Bangladesh and the Indian region of west Bengal. However, the current study considered only the Bangladesh part of Sundarbans for study and prepared ecotourism planning for this region. The Sundarbans plays an important role for the national economy of Bangladesh because of its natural resources and tourism activities. Moreover, this forest has been facing some problems due to unplanned development and tourism activities. The ultimate result of unplanned development is land use change, increasing deforestation, biodiversity losses and decreasing upstream flows. Therefore, the study considered this mangrove for ecotourism planning and development and GIS used as decision supporting tools. Moreover, this study tried to find some answers from the research questions. Tourism is a phenomenon, which often highlights that lack of planning and management in terms of environmental concern. For ecotourism planning this thesis quantifies land use change in the Sundarbans over 33 years (1977-2010) using Landsat TM, ETM & MSS satellite imagery and prepared vector maps based on LGED map for ecotourism mapping in Sundarbans, GIS assist in this process. The study found that, the land use of Sundarbans changed over the study period and the density of forest declined at the same time. However, the change occurred because of various human activities and climate change effects. Tourism has a little bit of contribution in the periphery area for this change but tourism has not yet been considered responsible for these effects largely as it is at a very early stage. This research proposed for community development and involvement for local people as a part of hospitality services in ecotourism industries in this region because they can assist tourists according to their experience as guides in the forest. Moreover, they can be employed in the service industries operating or accompanying jungle boat trips and wilderness trails and assisting in transport operation. For ecosystem protection in Sundarbans this study proposed a 300 meters buffer zone around the sanctuaries. Finally, this study proposed an outline for ecotourism planning in the Bangladesh part of Sundarbans where GIS assist in the planning process. KEY WORDS: Ecotourism, planning, GIS, land use change, Sundarbans, Bangladesh iii

APPLICATION OF GIS IN ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT: A CASE STUDY
IN SUNDARBANS, BANGLADESH
By
Md. Azizur Rahman

A Masters Thesis
Submitted to MIUN
For the degree of Master of Arts, Human Geography Focusing on Tourism

June 2010

Approved:
Advisor
Prof. Dr. Dimitri loannides

Examiner
Prof. Dr. Robert Pettersson

iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank the following people for their support during the course of my graduate studies; my supervisor, Dimitri Ioannides for his effective guidance from proposal writing to the end of this research, all teachers and staffs of the tourism department for supporting...
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