These local tourists, who are mainly youths and adventure lovers, now prefer new locations over traditional tourist destinations such as Cox’s Bazar, the Sundarbans, and Sylhet tea estates
Experts have said that many potential and emerging tourist spots across Bangladesh remain unexplored, mainly due to the lack of a proper plan for the development and promotion of tourism.
Due to the popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, more and more people are becoming aware of new locations that hold potential for tourism in the country, in lesser-known hill, beach and forest areas. However, the government is yet to catalogue these locations for exploration by local and foreign tourists alike, they added.
The tourism sector experts further said that the lack of proper guidelines for tourism in the country was also hampering the exploration of these emerging tourist spots.
Without a master plan for the development of these high-potential tourism locations, authorities have been unable to work coherently to develop and improve them, the experts added.
"In Bangladesh, local tourists account for 98% of total tourism," Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) Director Taufiq Rahman said.
These local tourists, who are mainly youths and adventure lovers, now prefer new locations over traditional tourist destinations such as Cox’s Bazar, the Sundarbans, and Sylhet tea estates, he added.
"However, these new locations are yet to be properly identified, developed and promoted by the government," Taufiq lamented.
The TOAB director further said: "The government is supposed to provide necessary logistic support like improving connectivity, ensuring food, residential and other facilities for the tourists. Unfortunately, no mentionable initiative has been taken to develop these at the emerging tourist spots."
Taufiq identified Ratargul and Bichhnakandi in Sylhet, as well as Thanchi, Paddamukh, Amiakhum, Nafakhum and Remakri in Bandarbans as just some of the many emerging new tourist spots.
“These areas are not traditional tourist destinations, and the government should develop and promote them,” he said.
He also emphasized coordination between the ministries concerned and the private sector for better development of tourism in Bangladesh.
Kazi Wahidul Alam, editor of tourism magazine Bangladesh Monitor, described the country’s tourism sector as “neglected.”
“The government has no master plan for the development of the tourism sector, and tourism guidelines have not been developed. There are no concrete plans to encourage domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.
However, the Bangladesh Monitor editor praised initiatives to promote adventure tourism and the exploration of new areas by some private tourist agencies on Facebook.
The Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) and Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry can work together to identify, develop, and promote potential tourist sports, which will help attract both local and foreign tourists, Wahid said.
Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) CEO M Jahangir Hossain said the government has formed the board to make the sector economically vibrant, and they are working to that end.
He added that the government sincerely wants to provide all necessary support to help the tourism sector, and they are gradually trying to develop emerging tourist spots.