Potentials of Establishing Eco-tourism in Cox’s Bazar: Understanding Tourist Perspectives and Preferences for a Right Marketing Mix
Keywords:Cox’s Bazar, eco-tourism, 4Ps of marketing, tourist perception
Cox’s Bazar is the leading tourism destination of Bangladesh but unplanned and improper development is leaving a trail of environmental injuries to the sector’s sustainability. Eco-tourism is perceived to be the ideal solution to the problem but thus far has not been suitably implemented. This study was carried out to understand tourist perception of environmental conservation and eco-tourism, with specific allusion to Cox’s Bazar in order to determine market potential and marketing avenues for a sustainable eco-tourism program. An online survey coupled with focused group discussion was conducted to gather data and deeper assessment of the mindset of Cox’s Bazar tourists. The information was analyzed based on McCarthy’s 4Ps classification of marketing mix using percentage analysis and measures of central tendencies and variability. The findings is that tourists are generally ready to enjoy eco-tourism in Cox’s Bazar and a mix of nature adventure activities, which, if moderately priced and ideally located in Enani/Teknaf, can be promoted through online media to attract and retain steady tourist traffic in the region to regenerate funds into its ecological conservation projects. Such programs should be pursued through a public-private partnership venture to realize the strongest resources of both sectors. The research can contribute to the works of tourism policy makers and project developers to ensure a holistically lucrative and manageable eco-tourism program in Cox’s Bazar. However, given that the study was conducted on a limited sample frame and size, further data should be collected to verify the findings and eliminate statistical errors before use.