For the first time ever, Bangladesh is going to host a United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting, a two-day annual event aimed at setting global policies for sustainable tourism.
“We are set to hold the 29th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CAP-CSA) from tomorrow [Tuesday],” said Dr Md Nasir Uddin, CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board, on Monday.
The event will take place at the Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View hotel on May 16-17, coinciding with a UN General Assembly declaration dubbing 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, BSS reported.
A high-level UNWTO delegation lead by its Secretary General Taleb Rifai will attend the meeting.
Tourism officials said the selection of Bangladesh as the host was a global recognition of the country's tourism potential.
Bangladesh is currently the vice-chair of UNWTO Regional Commission for South Asia.
During the UNWTO meeting, international tourism experts and different stakeholders from 35 countries of East and South Asia and Pacific region will discuss sustainable tourism, tourism ethics, protection of tourists and rights and obligations of tourism service providers.
The topic of sustainable tourism will be highlighted at the event as the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On Monday, one day ahead of the main event, the tourism board organised a day-long discussion titled "UNWTO Regional Forum on Crisis Communication" at the same venue.
Nasir said Bangladesh has already showed its capability in organising mega international tourism events in the last two years, including Buddhist Tourism Circuit and PATA New Tourism Frontier Forum last year.
“This UNWTO event is the continuation of our efforts in organising mega tourism events,” he said.
Nasir said the UNWTO event would also help to flourish MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events) tourism in Bangladesh. "Cox's Bazar can be a lucrative destination for MICA tourism as we already have a number of high-end hotels there and more are under construction,” he said.