Banking sector can help develop tourism

Banking sector can play a key role in the country’s tourism development by offering deposit and lending services to tourists and tourism related businesses. It needs to step forward to provide easy term loans to the new and young entrepreneurs of the sector. State minister for civil aviation and tourism Md Mahbub Ali came up with these comments while addressing a seminar as chief guest titled Developing Tourism & Hospitality Industry in Bangladesh: Scope of the role of Banking and Financial Sector’ organised by the department of tourism and hospitality management of Dhaka University on the university campus on Sunday.

The country is having demographic dividends of 65 percent young working people of its total population now and the percentage will increase by 70 percent by 2030- as per the UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Human Development Report. In this regard he said, ‘this is a huge opportunity for the country as well as the country’s tourism industry to show its potentials using these young people’.

He said, as the tourism is a labor intensive industry it has chance to use the power of the young people and government is ready to provide them with all kind of supports. Private bank and financial institutions will also have to come forward in this regard. Citing the Tourism and Travel Councilor 2017 statistics, the state minister said, tourism industry contributed TK 850.7 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) which was 4.3 percent of the total GDP. It also helps to create 24,32,000 job opportunities at that time.

‘In 2017, the sector has got investment of Tk 83 billion; in 2028 the amount will be Tk 161.8 billion. It will help to create immense job opportunity too’- he added. As the country now has a strong banking sector, Mahbub Ali pointed to more investment in tourism industry. ‘Banks and financial institutions can invest in building tourism infrastructure and also in beautification of the country’s different tourism spots. It can also introduce easy term loan to the domestic travelers, which they can pay back in installments later’.

Showing example, the state minister said, ‘our neighboring country Nepal has introduced such loan scheme in 2010 which people are enjoying. ‘If the banking and financial sector introduce easy travelers cheque or travelers credit card, subscribers of those banks and financial institutions would be more interest in travelling’- he further added.

Such package and promotional offer from bank and financial institutions will inspire the travelers more. Insurance companies can introduce tourist insurance, banks can offer scholarships to the students who are studying in different universities’ tourism department. The state minister urged the country’s banking industry to consider the above-mentioned proposal and take further action.

Tourism and hospitality management department chairman Md Bodruzzaman Bhuiyan presided over the seminar while assistant professor Shoyeb UR Rahman presented the keynote paper. Among others, managing director of Rupali Bank Md Ataur Rahman Pradhan, the university’s business faculty dean Shibli Rubayet Ul Islam, chairman of Investment Corporation of Bangladesh Prof Mujib Uddin Ahmed also spoke in the seminar.