It is encouraging to see Bangladesh moving up five places on the list for the most tourist-friendly nations on the planet in 2019, published by the World Economic Forum, with the hope that this is just a precursor for the country’s fledgling tourism industry.
The list, which this year gave precedence to four criteria in particular -- natural and cultural resources, aviation infrastructure, national travel and tourism policies, and appropriate environment such as security, safety, and hygiene -- saw Bangladesh make the most progress in security and safety in the Asia-Pacific region, which is further reason for encouragement.
However, it is a shame that a country such as Bangladesh, one which has so much to offer in terms of natural resources, history, and cultural heritage, has historically failed to capitalize on these factors and establish a thriving tourism sector.
To that end, it looks that the authorities have finally grasped the significance of developing tourism in the country -- not only will developing the sector be a significant factor to aid us in achieving our economic ambitions, but it will also help present Bangladesh in a more positive light to the rest of the world.
Therefore, while the upward trend is encouraging, there is much work to be done -- Bangladesh still ranks significantly lower than many of its neighbouring countries, and faces significant challenges in the form of pollution, water-logging, deforestation, and a general lack of adequate services.
With the country harbouring lofty development ambitions within the very near future -- including its desire to be a more investment-friendly destination -- Bangladesh should look to continue to become more tourist-friendly.
This is a step in the right direction and will act as a significant boost in our overall journey to economic prosperity.