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Registration mandatory for tour operators, guides

Bill passed in JS

Published : 18 Nov 2021 10:39 PM

‘The Bangladesh Tour Operators and Tour Guides (Registration and Operation) Act, 2021’ was formulated with a view to bringing discipline to the tourism sector. The new law was formulated also for ensuring the best services and giving a boost to the tourism sector.

Registration has been made mandatory for the tour operators and guides in the new law. The National Parliament on Thursday (November 18) passed ‘The Bangladesh Tour Operators and Tour Guides (Registration and Operation) Bill, 2021’.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali placed the Bill in the House and it was passed by voice vote.

Earlier, there was no law, guideline or rules for the tour operators and guides in Bangladesh. There was no discipline in the private tourism business sector. Meanwhile, the unregistered online and social media-based tours and travel service providers were on the rise in absence of rules and regulations. However, now the tour operators and guides will have to get registration for doing business.

After the law comes into effect, no tour operator will be able to do business without registration, while nobody can be a tour guide without registration. They have to collect registrations even if they have existing trade licences. 

However, the online-based tours and travel service providers can’t run their activities without registration. There are hundreds of pages of tour operators and guides on Facebook. These groups organise various types of tour that attract the country’s youths. Registration is now mandatory for these Facebook-based tour operators and guides.

Abu Tahir Muhammad Zaber, Director (marketing, planning and public relation) of Bangladesh Tourism Board, said that the activities of tour operators and tour guides would now be regulated as per the law. 

“The tourism sector will flourish and the revenue of the government will increase following the registration is made mandatory,” he added. 

The terms and conditions for getting registration, period of the registration, and provisions for cancellation of registration were mentioned in the proposed Bangladesh Tour Operators and Tour Guides (Registration and Operation) Act, 2021. 

As per the Bill, a tour and travels company will have to collect a license from the authorities concerned by paying a specific amount of fee. The license will be renewed after every three years. No company will be allowed to operate tour activities without registration. If anyone does this, it would be tried under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. 

The proposed law also has a provision of handing over the registration to another tour operator in case of death, physical and financial incapability. However, the law has defined who can be tour operators and tour guides.