“Bangladesh Tourism Industry: Prospects and Opportunities”
The tourism industry of Bangladesh is not too long. In the year 1972, Bangladesh tourism industry officially started with the establishment of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in the hands of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Where Grand Tour began in England in 1670, Thomas Cook arranged the first package tour in 1841, traveling from Leicester to loughborough by traveling with 570 tourists. For this reason, Thomas Cook is known as “The Father of Package Tour” in the world of Travel Agency. The word ‘tourist’ was first applied in 1772 and the use of tourism was used in 1811. In comparison to this, I can say Bangladesh tourism industry like new born baby. People of our country understand tourism as a hotel. Someone thinks tourism means roam around nothing else. Apart from hotels and sightseeing, there are many things that tourism is related to; many people do not want to believe these simple words.
According to the World Tourism Organization- “Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries which deliver a travel experience comprising transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses and other hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home” .In my language “Tourism is sum of all activities that arising out from travel and stay of tourists.”And for the tourists to perform the above mentioned activities, all the activities that are to be coordinated include tourism. Simply put, tourism is the sum of all the jobs that arise when a tourist travels or lives in some other place. One of the five pillars of tourism is Transportations and Communication, Accommodations, Food and Beverage, Attractions, and Entertainment. These pillars above are associated with 109 sectors. This is why tourism is called the industry of Industry and Art.
Current world, many of countries’ economy is tourism oriented. Example for UAE, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Srilanka, Maldives, Laos, and most part of Europe and American continent. Bangladesh is raising country for travel and tourism sector. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, more than 100 million tourists are traveling from one country to other countries. By 2020, its number will exceed 160 million. The tourism industry of Bangladesh is progressing day by day. If proper measures are taken for the development and promotion of tourism industry in Bangladesh, this industry will be transformed through the main driving force of Bangladesh’s economy and tourism. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, in 2014, direct contribution of tourism and travel to Bangladesh’s economy was 296.6 billion and it got direct employment at 0.903 million. Screening is an industry where everyone gets financial independence. According to Indian tourism magazine, in some countries, when a tourist travels, he creates financial benefit for 30 people indirectly.
Tourism in Bangladesh is very unique and diversified from other parts of world. All of the material needed to attract the tourists that all are exists in our country, just need to present them properly to tourists. UNESCO has declared three attractions in Bangladesh as a world heritage site; the world’s largest integrated mangrove forest – Sundarbans, The world oldest Budhists Vhira; Paharpur, and The art of finest Archeology; Sixty dome mosque. Mongal Sovajatra has declared as a world intangible world heritage by UNESCO. There is also the longest continuous natural sandy beach in the world – Cox’s Bazar, the coral island in the heart of the Bay of Bengal – St. Martin’s Island, The Largest Hilly Island-Mahesakhali Island, Natural diversified Island- Sonadia Island, The Second Mangrove forest of Bangladesh-Nijhum Island.
The beauty of the tea gardens of Sylhet makes special attention for the tourists. It is not possible to express the beauty of Nilgiri, Nilchari Hill, Waterfalls and Sangu River in Bandarbans. The Sajek Valley in Rangamati is a place where it will feel like flying in the clouds. Rangamati is also known by the name of “The City of Lake”. The rural environment of Bangladesh and the simple-minded people will be encouraged to visit villages anytime. Cultural programs of our country, such as Pala-e-Parvan, Pahla Baishakh, Pahla Falgun, Kites festival, Boisabi festival will be forced to bring foreign tourists to Bangladesh.
The government of Bangladesh is taking a number of steps to develop and promote tourism industry. According to the Tourist Reservation Area Act-2010, 35 thousand acres of land has been declared as a “Tourism Conservation Area”. Islands – Saint Martin Island, Maheshkhali Island, Sonadia Island, Nijhum Island, Sundarbans, have been declared as “Tourism Protected areas”. In the suburang of Teknaf, 1165 acres are available for foreign tourists throughout the “work in Exclusive Tourist Zone”. Overall assessment and survey record is giving us positive sign for Bangladesh Tourism: Prospect and Possibility.
Md. Shaifullar Rabbi
BBA & MBA, Major in Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Dhaka Coordinator & Lecturer, Department of tourism & Hospitality Management, DIIT-NU Assessor- Ticketing & Reservation, Bangladesh Technical Education Board Senior Trainer- HB Aviation Training Center