The government is planning to develop rural and community-based tourism, says the state minister
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali said that the government is constructing three parks in Cox’s Bazar that are expected to generate some 40,000 new jobs and economic activities valued at $2 billion dollars.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on Monday at Agargoan in the capital organised by the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) marking World Tourism Day.
He said that the government is also planning to develop rural and community-based tourism, taking grassroots people of the country into consideration.
He said: "Coronavirus pandemic hit the travel and tourism sector during the last one year and a half and the government has announced a package of Tk1,500 crore to help withstand the losses incurred during this period."
The World Tourism Day-2021 is being celebrated on September 27 with the slogan “Tourism for Inclusive Growth,” having a promise to uplift the life of rural people.
The contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP was 4.3% in 2019 and the government has set a target to raise it up to 6% of the GDP, adding that this sector contributed Tk95,070 crore to the national income of the country.
Bangladesh should develop exclusive zones with a view to attracting international tourists.
Citing his personal experience, the Chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury said that countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Indonesia and Malaysia have special tourist zones in spite of being Muslim majority countries.
Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury is a Bangladesh Awami League politician and the incumbent Member of Parliament from Brahmanbaria-3.
Criticizing some religious leaders using religion for their own purposes, he said: “the country should offer special tourist exclusive zones to cater to international tourists.”
He also said that a good number of Muslim majority countries in Asia and Africa have enviable success in the travel and tourism sector and Bangladesh has every possibility to become successful in the tourism sector.
He said that just like other countries, the travel and tourism sectors in Bangladesh have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic during the last year and a half.
The tourism sector will bounce back and will overcome the losses incurred during the last year and a half as the vaccination programme is going on and the coronavirus situation has improved.
He urged the stakeholders concerned in the tourism sector to visit Casablanca of Morocco to see for themselves the amenities being provided to international tourists.
“Though Bangladesh is celebrating 50 years of independence this year, the success of the tourism sector is beyond expectation,” the member of parliament said.
He said only Cox’s Bazar and Sundarbans are mainly portrayed as major tourist attraction places, though Bangladesh has vast historical, cultural and natural resources that can attract tourists.
Emphasizing the safety and security of tourists, the veteran member of parliament said the government has formed a tourist police after coming to power in 2009.
Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board Javed Ahmed said: “The world tourism sector has generated 33 crore new jobs with earnings of $8.9 trillion in 2019. The total contribution of the tourism sector to the world GDP was 10%.”
“As the tourism sector is a labour-intensive industry, this sector contributes a lot to the inclusive growth of a country," he added.
He also said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has earmarked short, mid and long term plans to develop the tourism sector.”
Javed said that the government has started construction of three tourism parks — Sabrang Tourism Park, Naf Tourism Park and Sonadia Eco-Tourism Park — in Cox’s Bazar district.
He said some one crore people travel within the country every year that generates earnings of Tk250 crore.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mokammel Hossain, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Chairman Md Hannan Mia and former national cricketer Raqibul Hasan also spoke on the occasion.