National, Front Page

Brisk move for vibrant tourism

Published : 26 Sep 2021 10:23 PM | Updated : 27 Sep 2021 05:46 PM

The government has long been striving hard to develop a vibrant tourism sector in Bangladesh as the country is blessed with the longest sea beach in the world and a plenty of panoramic beauty over the country. 

But the expected goal of a developed tourism has not yet been achieved due to lack of social development and the insurmountable religious medievalism.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stepped up with the idea of exclusive tourism zones, keeping country’s existing social reality far away, so that the global conglomerates can come forward with their competitive projects.

The present government has laid an immense emphasis on developing tourism sector. Besides, it is also providing incentives to offset the loss incurred due to Covid-19 pandemic.

A Tourism Master Plan taken up couple of years back for overall development of the tourism sector is likely to be completed by December next year.

Civil Aviation and Tourism state Minister Md Mahbub Ali said, “Before the stagnated situation of Covid-19, we appointed an international agency to formulate a tourism master plan. According to Prime Minister’s direction we want to take the industry forward in a planned way. We will start our work as soon as the master plan is completed. But due to the pandemic, the work was stopped in the middle. Now the work has started again and I hope, the work on the master plan will be completed by December 2022.”

To attract more foreign tourists, the government is also working to ease the visa complexities at the airport. Moreover, separate software is also underway from which foreign tourist arrival data can be easily obtained.

According to civil aviation and tourism ministry, the officials concerned have talked to the Ministry of Home Affairs to ease the visa process, including the on-arrival visas in the country to attract tourists.

Former secretary of Civil Aviation and Tourism ministry Shafique Alam Mehdi

told Bangladesh Post, “Our Country is full of tourism opportunities. Tourism not only increases economic activities, it also contributes to country’s GDP. Our country’s people are not yet aware of our captivating local tourism attraction. We must emphasize the importance of branding our tourist attractions at home and abroad.

“Besides, service sector can play a vital role in tourism development. We can assure both local and foreign guests of our world class hospitality by flourishing our service sector,” he added.

While talking about tourism development the noted person cited problems and obstacles in the sector and said, faster and safe communication, safety and security, affordable accommodation at tourist spots, entertainment opportunities and others must be ensured for tourists.

The government is also working to attract world tourists with our glorious history and tradition which can take the labor intensive tourism industry forward. Besides, it also emphasizes that the infrastructures in the country must be tourism industry-friendly.

The government is constructing third terminal at the Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport and maritime airport at Cox’s Bazar, which are likely to attract more tourists and will provide world class services in future. 

Industry insiders said, the government is

working to make the country as an aviation hub. Once the ongoing several development projects are completed the overall scenario of the country will change phenomenally.

To overcome the brunt of the pandemic, the government is also providing cash stimulus to the businessmen in the sector. Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism Md. Mokammel Hossain said, “ Prime Minister has announced an incentive of Tk 1,500crore for the tourism industry.”

We have to take steps at the government level to make the tourism industry more attractive and developed, said RK Chowdury, a former government high official.

“Countries that have beaches have an abundance of tourists throughout the year.

“Bangladesh has the longest beach in the world. Moreover, there are hills in our country and many places of historical interest. Despite this, it is worth thinking why Bangladesh is not becoming so attractive to tourists in the international arena,” he added.

IPE Global Limited, in a Joint Venture with Horwath HTL, BETS Consulting Services Limited and At Earth Bangladesh, have been engaged by the Bangladesh Tourism Board for the preparation of the ‘Tourism Master Plan of Bangladesh.’ The master plan will be implemented in three phases by December 2022.

The tourism sector had to bear the brunt of corona pandemic. It forced people to leave the sector in search of a job in other sectors and tourist spots were left abandoned. This year World Tourism Day not only highlights these issues but also inclusive growth for Tourism. 

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) urges people to highlight the ability of tourism as the world has started opening. 

“By celebrating this day, we state our commitment that, as tourism grows, the benefits that come will be felt at every level of our broad and diverse sector, from the biggest airline to the smallest family business,” Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO, said in his official message.