Crises and Conflicts on the Way to Sustainable Tourism Development: A Study of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

  • Mohammad Rakib Uddin BHUIYAN Department of International Business, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • M. Badruzzaman BHUIYAN Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh


This study aims to measure the sustainable tourism conditions of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, concerning various crises and conflicts inflicted upon it in recent times. Recent crisis studies make it imperative that sustainability should set the bedrock of any industry for its longevity. Following Ko's (2005) tourism sustainability conceptual framework, this study uses a mixed-method approach to map the tourism sustainability of Cox's Bazar. Our studies find that the tourism sustainability in Cox's Bazar hit an intermediate level in the tourism sustainability map suggested by Ko (2005), which depicts that tourism sustainability in Cox's Bazar is neither sustainable nor unsustainable. Lack of reliable crisis response mechanism, lethargic attitudes towards safety and security issues, no control over the market and city development, relaxed attitudes towards the environment and littering in the tourist zones, and Rohingya people's engagement with drug, human trafficking, and flesh trade can be the most significant challenges to the long-term tourism sustainability of Cox's Bazar. However, a time-suited coordinated tourism action plan can put the tourism sustainability of Cox's Bazar back on the pedestal.


[1] Abbas, J., et al. 2021. Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on tourism: transformational potential and implications for a sustainable recovery of the travel and leisure industry. Current Research in Behavioral Sciences 2. DOI:
[2] Ahmed, H. U. 2022. Need for holistic growth of Cox’s Bazar. The Financial Express. February 7, 2022. Available at:
[3] Aiman, S. 2022. Cox’s Bazar: Ready and waiting for more tourists. The Daily Star, February 20, 2022. Available at:
[4] Amin, M. R. 2017. Domestic tourists’ mind-set towards responsible tourism management: a case study on Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. International Journal of Tourism Cities, 3(2):121-142. DOI:
[5] Archer, B. 1996. Sustainable tourism — Do economists really care? Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, 2 (3-4): 217-222. DOI:
[6] Bayes, A. 2020. Conflict, Disaster, and Disease: A Colossal Catastrophe Looms in the Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Available at:
[7] Bramwell, B., and Lane, B. 2010. Sustainable Tourism: An Evolving Global Approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1(1):1-5. DOI:
[8] Brecher, M. 1996. Introduction: Crisis, Conflict, War—State of the Discipline. International Political Science Review, 17(2): 127-139. DOI:
[9] Brown, K. 2021. 5 global issues to watch in 2022. United Nations Foundation, Uncategorized (blog). Available at:
[10] Burrai, E., Buda, D.-M. and Stevenson, E. 2022. Tourism and refugee-crisis intersections: co-creating tour guide experiences in Leeds, England. Journal of Sustainable Tourism: 1-18. DOI:
[11] Butcher, J. 2021. Covid-19, tourism and the advocacy of degrowth. Tourism Recreation Research, 1-10. DOI:
[12] Buxel, H., Esenduran, G. and Griffin, S. 2015. Strategic sustainability: Creating business value with life cycle analysis. Business Horizons, 58(1): 109-122. DOI:
[13] Cernat, L., and Gourdon, J. 2007. Is the concept of sustainable tourism sustainable? Developing the Sustainable Tourism Benchmarking Tool. UNCTAD series on assuring development gains from the international trading system and trade negotiations. UNCTAD, 15 October, Available at:
[14] Chakraborty, A. 2021. Can tourism contribute to environmentally sustainable development? Arguments from an ecological limits perspective. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 23(6): 8130-8146. DOI:
[15] Chiesa, V., Manzini, R. and Noci, G. 1999. Towards a sustainable view of the competitive system. Long Range Planning. Long Range Planning, 32(5). DOI:
[16] Choe, J., and Lugosi, P. 2021. Migration, tourism and social sustainability. Tourism Geographies, 24(1): 1-8. DOI:
[17] Çınar, K., and Şener, G. 2021. Impact of Crises on the Tourism Industry: Evidence from Turkey,” In Pandemics and Travel (Tourism Security-Safety and Post Conflict Destinations), edited by Claudia Seabra, Odete Paiva, Carla Silva, and José Luís Abrantes, 29-47. Bingley, Emerald Publishing Limited. DOI:
[18] Cochrane, P. 2006. Exploring Cultural Capital and Its Importance in Sustainable Development. Ecological Economics, 57(2): 318-330. DOI:
[19] Costanza, R., and Patten, B.C. 1995. Defining and predicting sustainability. Ecological Economics, 15(3): 193-196. DOI:
[20] Czarnecki, M., and Starosta, A. 2014. Two Faces of Anti-crisis Management: from Definitions to Concepts. Management, 18(1): 169-183. DOI:
[21] Diaz, M. R., and Espino-Rodríguez, T. F. 2016. Determining the Sustainability Factors and Performance of a Tourism Destination from the Stakeholders’ Perspective. Sustainability, 8(9): 951-968. DOI:
[22] Faber, N., Jorna, R. and Van Engelen, J. O. 2005. The sustainability of "sustainability"—A study into the conceptual foundations of the notion of "sustainability". Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 7(01): 1-33. DOI:
[23] Fatema, S., et al. 2018. Seawater intrusion caused by unmanaged groundwater uses in a coastal tourist area, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Environmental Earth Sciences, 77(75): 1-13. DOI:
[24] Gallien, M., and Weigand, F. 2021. Channeling Contraband: How States Shape International Smuggling Routes. Security Studies, 30(1):79-106. DOI:
[25] Gryz, J., and Kitler, W. eds., 2007. System reagowania kryzysowego. Europejskie Centrum Edukacyjne.
[26] Guest, G., Bunce, A. and Johnson, L. 2016. How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Methods, 18(1): 58-82. DOI:
[27] Hall, C.M., Scott, D. and Gössling, S. 2020. Pandemics, transformations and tourism: be careful what you wish for. Tourism Geographies, 22(3): 577-598. DOI:
[28] Hasan, M.E., et al. 2021. Modeling of Forest Ecosystem Degradation Due to Anthropogenic Stress: The Case of Rohingya Influx into the Cox’s Bazar–Teknaf Peninsula of Bangladesh. Environments, 8(11): 121-143. DOI:
[29] Islam, N., et al. 2022. Exploring Human-Elephant Conflicts and Mitigation Measures in and Around Rohingya Refugee Camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh." In Bow Ties in Process Safety and Environmental Management, edited by Anjani Ravi Kiran Gollakota, Sneha Gautam, and Chi-Min Shu. Florida, USA: CRC Press. DOI:
[30] Jahan, N., and Rahman, S. 2016. Factors that obstruct tourism development in Bangladesh. International Journal of Research in Commerce & Management, 7(9): 48-56. Available at:
[31] Jamil, Md. Abdullah Al, and Md. Zillur Rahman Siddique. 2013. Prospects and Problems of Cox’s Bazar Sea Beach as a Tourist Spot of Bangladesh. International Journal of Trade and Commerce, 2(2): 269-277.
[32] Jones, P., and Comfort, D. 2020. The COVID-19 crisis, tourism and sustainable development. Athens Journal of Tourism, 7(2): 75-86. Available at:
[33] Jus, Nejc. “Global Economic Impact Trends.” World Travel and Tourism Council. August 2022. Available at:
[34] Keeble, B. R. 1988. The Brundtland report: ‘Our common future’. Medicine and War 4(1): 17-25. DOI:
[35] Ko, T.-G. 2003. Development of a tourism sustainability assessment procedure: a conceptual approach. International Journal of Tourism Sciences, 3(1): 17-46. DOI:
[36] Ko, T.-G. 2005. Development of a tourism sustainability assessment procedure: a conceptual approach. Tourism Management, 26(3): 431-445. DOI:
[37] Lagadec, P., and Topper, B. 2012. How Crises Model the Modern World. Journal of Risk Analysis and Crisis Response, 2(1): 21-33. Directory of Open Access Journals.
[38] Lawson, S., Heacock, D. and Stupnytska, A. 2007. Beyond The BRICKS: A Look at The ‘Next 11’, in BRICS and Beyond, edited by Goldman Sachs Global Economics Group, 161-164. Goldman Sachs, 2007. Available at:
[39] Lewis, D. 2019. Humanitarianism, civil society and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh.” Third World Quarterly, 40(10):1884-1902. DOI:
[40] Lu, Li, Junlin Peng, Jing Wu, and Yi Lu. 2021. Perceived impact of the Covid-19 crisis on SMEs in different industry sectors: Evidence from Sichuan, China. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 55. DOI:
[41] Mazhar, Md K. A., et al. 2021. An outbreak of acute jaundice syndrome (AJS) among the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Findings from enhanced epidemiological surveillance. PLoS ONE, 16(4). DOI:
[42] Mekinc, J., Kociper, T. and Dobovšek, B. 2013. The Impact of Corruption and Organized Crime on the Development of Sustainable Tourism. Varstvoslovje: Journal of Criminal Justice & Security, 15(2): 218–239.
[43] Melotti, M., Ruspini, E. and Marra, E. “Migration, tourism and peace: Lampedusa as a social laboratory. Anatolia 29(2): 215-224. DOI:
[44] Mondal, Md. S. H. 2017. SWOT Analysis and Strategies to develop sustainable tourism in Bangladesh.” UTMS Journal of Economics, 8(2):159-167. Available at:
[45] Morse, J. M. 2015. “Data were saturated…”. Qualitative Health Research, 25(5): 587-588. DOI:
[46] Mowla, M. M. 2019. Investigating the compliance of tourism principles with the components of sustainable tourism: Bangladesh perspective. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 19(G1): 9-13. Directory of Open Access Journals.
[47] Müller, D. K. 2021. 20 years of Nordic second-home tourism research: a review and future research agenda. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 21(1): 91-101. DOI:
[48] Noble, H., and Heale, R. 2019. Triangulation in research, with examples. Evidence-Based Nursing, 22(3):67-68. DOI:

[49] Neto, F. 2002. Sustainable Tourism, Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Manaagement: Paradise on Earth?. Paper presented at the International Colloquium on Regional Governance and Sustainable Development in Tourism-driven Economies, Cancun, Mexico, 20-22 February 2002. Available at:
[50] Oppermann, M 2000. Triangulation — a methodological discussion. International Journal of Tourism Research, 2(2): 141-145. DOI:;2-U
[51] Palacios-Florencio, B., Santos-Roldán, L., Berbel-Pineda, J. M. and Castillo-Canalejo, A. M. 2021. Sustainable Tourism as a Driving force of the Tourism Industry in a Post-Covid-19 Scenario. Social Indicators Research. Social Indicators Research, 158: 991-1011. DOI:
[52] Pappas, N., and Papatheodorou, A. 2017. Tourism and the refugee crisis in Greece: Perceptions and decision-making of accommodation providers. Tourism Management, 63: 31-41. DOI:
[53] Pappas, N. 2019. The complexity of consumer experience formulation in the sharing economy. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 77: 415-424. DOI:
[54] Saxena, G., Mowla, M. M. and Chowdhury, S. 2020. Spiritual capital (Adhyatmik Shompatti)–a key driver of community well-being and sustainable tourism in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(10): 1576-1602. DOI:
[55] Sharma, A., and Shruti. 2015. Impact of Promotion on Destination Reputation: A Case of Gujarat. International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Systems, 8(1): 23-31. Directory of Open Access Journal.
[56] Siddikee, Md N., et al. 2022. Sustainable economic growth and unemployment nexus of SDG 2030: Bangladesh in Asia. SN Business & Economics, 2(1): 12. DOI:
[57] Solimano, A. 2005. Political Crises, Social Conflict and Economic Development: The Political Economy of the Andean Region. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
[58] Streimikiene, D., Svagzdiene, B., Jasinskas, E. and Simanavicius, A. 2020. Sustainable tourism development and competitiveness: The systematic literature review. Sustainable Development, 29(1): 259-271. DOI:
[59] Su, D. N., et al. 2021. Enhancing resilience in the Covid-19 crisis: lessons from human resource management practices in Vietnam. Current Issues in Tourism 24(22): 3189-3205. DOI:
[60] Tauber, V., and Bausch, T. 2022. Will COVID-19 Boost Sustainable Tourism: Wishful Thinking or Reality? Sustainability, 14(3): 1-24. DOI:
[61] Tepelus, C. M. 2008. Social Responsibility and Innovation on Trafficking and Child Sex Tourism: Morphing of Practice into Sustainable Tourism Policies? Tourism and Hospitality Research, 8(2): 98-115. DOI:
[62] Thurmond, V. A. 2001. The Point of Triangulation. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33(3): 253-258. DOI:
[63] Uğur, N. G., and Akbıyık, A. 2020. Impacts of COVID-19 on global tourism industry: A cross-regional comparison. Tourism Management Perspectives, 36: 100744. DOI:
[64] Ural, M. 2016. Risk Management for Sustainable Tourism. European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation, 7(1): 63-71. DOI:
[65] Wobodo, C. C., Orianzi, R. and Oko-Jaja, B. 2020. Conflict and Crisis Management: A Theoretical Comparison. European Journal of Business and Management, 12(2): 16-22. DOI:
[66] Zenker, S., and Kock, F. 2020. The coronavirus pandemic – A critical discussion of a tourism research agenda. Tourism Management, 81: 104164. DOI:
[67] United Nations Environment Programme and World Trade Organization (WTO). 2005. Making Tourism more Sustainable: A Guide for Policy Makers. Available at: 
How to Cite
BHUIYAN, Mohammad Rakib Uddin; BHUIYAN, M. Badruzzaman. Crises and Conflicts on the Way to Sustainable Tourism Development: A Study of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 2, p. 320 - 334, mar. 2023. ISSN 2068-7729. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 07 june 2023. doi: