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5 May, 2018 12:28:55 AM
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Number of foreign tourists to Bangladesh drops

According to the latest report of the UNWTO, more than three lakh foreign tourists had visited Bangladesh in 2010. The number dropped to 1.25 lakh in 2014
TAREQUE MORETAZA
Number of foreign tourists to Bangladesh drops

On an average, 15 lakh tourists go out of the country each year and only one to two lakh tourists visit Bangladesh. This situation needs to be changed, but nothing has been done till now.

The specific number of tourists who come to visit the country is unavailable from any government organisation. However, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has seen that the number of foreign tourists coming to the country has dropped in the last seven to eight years.

According to the latest report of the UNWTO, more than three lakh foreign tourists had visited Bangladesh in 2010. In 2014, the number dropped to 1lakh 25thousand. At the same time, the number of tourists in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal increased significantly.

In 2010, 5,776,000 foreign tourists had visited India. The number increased to 14,500,000 in 2016.

Many tour operators confirmed to The Independent about the lesser number of foreign tourists. They also said that no visible step has been taken to overcome it.

Managing director of Bengal Tour, Masud Hossain, told The Independent: "The positive image of the country abroad is very important for tourists. We have to highlight our positive image. Our embassies in different countries can do this. Simultaneously, the media can also play a vital role to uphold the country's image to lure foreign tourists to come here.‘‘

Bangladesh Tourism Board CEO Mohammad Nasir Uddin said: ‘‘There is no shortage of hospitality on our part, but there are limited opportunities. There are some problems at the moment. We're trying to resolve them as soon as possible. For example, the visa process has been simplified for foreign tourists now”.

Syed Rashidul Hassan, professor of  Dhaka University and tourism analysist , told The Independent: ’’In 2016, 15-16 lakh people from Bangladesh visited other countries. On the contrary, only one to two lakh  foreign tourists came to our country. Bangladeshi tourists spent at least Tk 6,000 crore abroad, whereas Bangladesh got only Tk 1,300 crore from foreign tourists. The tourism sector contributed only0. 47 per cent of the country's total earnings. If the government does not take into account this profit and loss, there will be no real improvement in this sector’’.

He also said: "A former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad, took special interest in this sector. It helped improve tourism. Likewise, Thailand, Singapore and India have also moved forward in this sector. Once this sector progresses, it will be beneficial for everyone in the long run."

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) conducted a survey for the first time in May 2013. The BBS survey found that 15 lakh tourists from Bangladesh go abroad each year. A Bangladeshi tourist, on an average, spends Tk 46,000—most of the money is spent on staying, eating and transportation.

However, the survey could not find any information about the cost of medical tourists.

The survey found that a foreign tourist, who is not a Bangladesh born, normally stays for six days in the country. In those six days, the tourist spends a total of Tk 91,210. These include lodging, food, transportation, shopping, and health- and travel-related shopping.

On the other hand, a non-resident Bangladeshi, someone who is born in Bangladesh but stays abroad, spends Tk 79,000. The reason for the less cost is that he comes to Bangladesh and either stays at his  home or releative`s house, it noted. The foreign and non-resident Bangladeshis who stays six days in Bangladesh, spends

s at an average of Tk 87 thousand, it noted.

EA

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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