Negative impacts from Community-Based Tourism preventable

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Taninthayi Region has a long coastline with more than 800 islands and has many below-and-above-water natural resources and views that are of interest for the world’s tourists.
Motorboat tourists from Asia, Africa and some European countries enjoy visiting Myeik Archipelago for its beautiful landscapes along the coast such as coral reefs, mangroves and a diverse species of birds and aquatic animals and traditional culture, such as the sea-based life of the Salon, also known as the sea gypsies, a seafaring ethnic minority.
With the tourism industry rising globally, Myanmar expects to attract seven million tourists in 2020.
With development of Community Based Tourism-CBT on some islands of Salon, local people are worried that farmland, beaches and bays of the islands would be occupied by hotels and tourism-related businesses.
Believing that Community based tourism-CBT could be one way of creating a more sustainable tourism industry, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism decided to develop Community Based Tourism on the islands where Salon minority are living, but at the same time it has prepared to give protection to the islands from being occupied by hotels and tourism businesses. Salons are mainly living on the Makyongalat, Nyaungwi, Jarlan, Jarohn and Langan islands.
Hotels and tourism-related business were allowed on the islands with the permission of the Myanmar Investment Commission, under the land-lease contracts with the regional government and the ministry. This way the things that local people worry would not be happen.
But, the most important is that the minority Salon people have the duty to conserve their tangible and intangible culture.
When the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism implements the CBT, they take into account the conservation of historical heritage, intangible culture, natural environment and regional traditions.
On the other side, most of the local communities especially in the third world countries are not knowledgeable concerning CBT and it has become one of the challenges of the Community Based Tourism.
It is the duty of authorities concerned to educate the local people in order to be able to understand the nature of community-based tourism and to enforce rules for conservation of local culture and environment by tourism-related businesses.
Another point is that responsible travel from the side of the tourists is also important for the long term sustainability and conservation of the tourist regions.
As tourism is wide ranging and affecting many sectors, cooperation is required among the three actors, the government sector, the private sector and the visitors.

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