Indigenous resistance to settler colonialism: tourism stories from the Chittagong Hill Tracts

Khokaneswar Tripura, Gareth Butler, Gerti Szili, Kevin Hannam

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Tourism development in the ‘post-conflict’ Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh proliferated after the CHT Peace Accord was signed in 1997. The Accord positioned tourism as an important component in reasserting Indigenous Jumma peoples’ rights and facilitating regional socio-economic recovery. However, the Jumma people have remained firmly on the periphery of development discourse and the region’s growing tourism industry has since paved the way for the forces of settler colonialism - namely through the actions and mobilities of the non-Indigenous Bengali majority - to manifest in several ways, including the acquisition of land and the marginalisation of Indigenous communities. In response, and without formal support, Indigenous tourism stakeholders have utilised domestic tourism as a form of resistance to help build more stable modes of Indigenous employment and improve community access to education and healthcare. Increasing interest in Indigenous tourism also aided the establishment of ‘counter-narratives’ to address negative perceptions. In short, tourism has been harnessed by Indigenous communities to address heavily entrenched socio-economic inequalities and long-standing misconceptions of Indigenous cultures even though state government strategies have largely sought the opposite. Drawing on an interpretivist paradigm, through semi-structured interviews with Jumma participants who are employed in the tourism industry, this paper distils the paradoxical challenges and opposing forces of tourism development in the CHT that continue to simultaneously stabilise and destabilise the region.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalTourism Geographies: an international journal of tourism place, space and environment
Early online date9 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jul 2023


  • Tourism Development
  • Conflict
  • Indegenous
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Bangladesh


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