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December 27, 2006

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'Visit Bangladesh Before the Tourists Come'

Now that is an optimistic slogan.

Weirdly, the New York Times highlights Bangladesh in its travel section. I am still angling to go back some day… though I am not sure if I would actually actively recommend it to other people.

Posted December 27, 2006 at 10:55 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Society/Culture


I would probably say the same thing about Cambodia or Jordan. Both are beautiful countries that Americans could stand to be more exposed to, but I tend to doubt that most could approach either place without an overly judgemental frame of mind.

I'm curious what you think about the idea of inexpensive luxury that the article talks about. Obviously, different people go on vacations for different reasons, but I wonder about the effects on both customers and service providers of having foreigners living in isolated pockets of their own culture in such close proximity to poverty. Is money the bottom line, or, for example, should residents of Bangladeshi beach towns be upset when bars open up to get the tourists drunk?

Yeah, it definitely seems kinda gross. That sort of hit-and-run tourism might be good for a quick infusion of cash, but it's no kind of sustainable industry -- economically OR socially.

Much better is something like Contic Tours, which has restored a giant, beautiful old-timey Bangladeshi sailboat to perfect working condition (and added, you know, bathrooms and stuff) and now plies the rivers of Bangladesh with it.

It was via Contic that Dan & I made our Bangladesh river voyage, & it was absolutely one of the highlights of my entire stay there. It's not cheap, but it's comfortable and you actually get a feel for something new.

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