Steady economic growth and conferences ranging from IT to RMG have resulted in more and more visitors to our nation.
This is already being reflected in the steady increase in the number of luxury hotels in the country, with the construction of 10-12 five-star hotels, including the Marriott and Hilton, already underway.
This speaks highly of how far we have come as a country, and how far we have yet to go.
Needless to say, we need to capitalise on this new phenomenon.
The tourism industry has already witnessed a rise from 2.4% at Tk407.6 billion, rising by 5.2% to Tk428.9bn last year. If we continue to do what we have been doing, experts predict a further 5.6% rise to Tk738.1bn by 2026. That would be 2.3% of our GDP.
A significant increase for certain.
Bangladesh, despite its potential as a tourist destination, has often failed to capitalise on all that it has to offer. The biggest factor has been room prices, which have been way too high, especially when compared to that of neighbouring nations such as India, Nepal, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Luxury hotels, such as the ones being built, and tourism in general, can play a pivotal role in the coming years as Bangladesh heads towards middle-income status.
They have the potential to contribute significantly to the national economy and, as such, present us an opportunity that cannot be squandered by the stake-holders involved.
So far, our progress has been laudable. But the government and any third parties involved must work together to ensure that the influx of new visitors generated by the growth in our economy is utilised to maximum benefit, both for the nation and its citizens.
It is a crucial step towards a better and healthier economy.