Bangladesh tourism sector is said to remain mired in infrastructural bottlenecks despite having potentials of growth.
A demand has, therefore, been raised for an allocation in the upcoming budget for implementing infrastructural development works such as improving road communication system.
Policy analysts said such funding will help the sector expand and contribute better to the country’s gross domestic product.
They said the country’s tourism sector can be developed to a well-performing industry through removing the bottlenecks. Sufficient fund is required to establish special tourist zones, analysts added.
“Improved communication to the tourist spots is a must and the government should allocate sufficient funds in the next fiscal year’s budget,” said Mojib Uddin Ahamed, chairman of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Dhaka University.
Mojib Uddin Ahamed also laid emphasis on developing exclusive tourist zones in the country since the government recently announced the tourism sector as an industry.
Earlier, the Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) placed its budget demands seeking duty-free import of tourist vessels, withdrawal of 10% advance income tax, cash incentives and easy-term loans for its members.
The people involved with the sector say they have been suffering from fund shortage and pay high bank interest. Toufiq Rahman, director of TOAB, is optimistic about the support from the government.
“Though we have not received any clear message from the authorities concerned, we are optimistic as the government has declared the tourism sector as an industry,” he said.
Mojib Uddin Ahamed suggested introducing a tourism banking like SME banking in efforts to ensure necessary financial supports for the sector.
In this regard, Bangladesh Bank can direct banks to provide funds to the tourism sector at a certain rate, he added.
The persistent political unrest has badly damaged the image of the country in abroad, which might deter the arrival of foreign tourists.
Analysts said branding Bangladesh in abroad is necessary to attract foreign tourists.
“To attract foreign tourists, the government and the tour operators should concentrate on image building of Bangladesh,” said former adviser to last caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon said: “We have received a set of budget demands from TOAB and will discuss them with finance minister for consideration.”