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25 March, 2018 12:28:30 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 March, 2018 12:30:19 AM

Tourism boom boosts economy

Tourism boom boosts economy

With a total contribution of 5.2 per cent of the GDP, the tourism industry of Bangladesh is playing an effective role in boosting the country’s economy.

According to the Bangladesh Tourism Board, in 2017 Bangladesh had about seven lakh international tourists and about 6.54 lakh in 2016. Over 2.50 lakh came to Bangladesh exclusively for tourism.

Editor of The Bangladesh Monitor, Kazi Wahidul Alam, told The Independent, “We need an effective marketing plan to promote our tourism sector and for that we need to develop a few things such as communication skills, adequate infrastructure and skilled manpower resources.”

He added: “The government focuses not only on inbound tourism but also domestic tourism. Recent domestic tourism growth has been encouraging. In a year, around 90 lakh domestic tourists travel across the country. Meanwhile, we will be able to attract over 10 lakh foreign tourists by 2018,” he said.

A three-day international tourism fair, titled ‘US-Bangla Airlines Dhaka Travel Mart 2018’, which was held in a Dhaka hotel, ended yesterday.

“With a view to unlock the country’s tourism potential, we launched this event sixteen years back and since then we are holding this fair as a regular annual event,” Alam said.

Wahidul said The Bangladesh Monitor had been playing a significant role in the country’s tourism sector for the last 26 years and, as part of it, they have been arranging the international travel and tourism fair since 2002.

Forty-eight organisations from different countries and host Bangladesh showcased their products and services in 5 pavilions and 60 booths at the US-Bangla Airlines Dhaka Travel Mart 2018. National tourism organisations, various airlines, tour operators, hotels, resorts, online booking portals, and healthcare service providers took part in the fair, among others.

The most significant feature of the just-concluded edition of the fair was the participation of five tourism organisations from different countries—the Bangladesh Tourism Board, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Nepal Tourism Board, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

The Bangladesh Monitor, a premier travel and tourism publication of the country, organised the fair for the 15th time. US-Bangla Airlines, a leading private sector airline of the country, was the Title Sponsor, while the Bangladesh Tourism Board and national carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines supported the event as partners.

When asked, chief executive officer (CEO) of US-Bangla Airlines Imran Asif told The Independent that US-Bangla had offered 25 per cent discount on different routes for all domestic flights in this fair.

Explaining the growth of the aviation sector, Asif said, last year, around 20 lakh people travelled by domestic flights, and the growth rate was increasing approximately by 10 per cent a year.

Pointing out some of the challenges of this aviation sector, Imran Asif said infrastructure was the pivotal problem in this sector. Citing an example, he said, “Five years back, ‘Saidpur’ airport used to operate one flight daily; now 18 flights are operating daily and the number of passengers has increased, too.

But the capacity of the airport had not improved to the extent it should have, he added.

US-Bangla has received three awards in recognition of being the best domestic airline, he informed.

Regency Hospitality Training Institute, a subsidiary of Dhaka Regency Hotel, participated in this fair to showcase their product and services.

Programme coordinator of Regency Hospitality Training Institute Abdul Halim Sarkar told The Independent, “We provide training in hotel management courses such as housekeeping, bar tendering, food safety, customer service, communicative English, butler training, which are all closely associated with the tourism sector.”

The institute had been established to meet the growing demand for well-trained and educated staff for developing the hotel and tourism industry in Bangladesh and in the region, Halim said.

“We are offering 25 per cent discount on spot admission to the students and the offer is on till the fair last,” he said when the show was in progress.

Course fee ranged from Tk 7,500 to Tk 2, 25,000, depending on the duration of the course and programme, Halim informed.

Bangladesh Biman offered 20 per cent discount on international flight routes such as Dhaka-Kolkata, Dhaka-Kathmandu, Dhaka-Singapore, Dhaka-Malaysia and Dhaka-Bangkok, said general manager, public relations of Bangladesh Biman Shakil Meraj.

When asked, he said Bangladesh Biman offered the lowest fair compared to other private airlines in this fair. The Dhaka to Chittagong fair charged is only Tk 2,000 throughout this month.

The target customer of Bangladesh Biman has been the middle-income group. So, despite an increase in the fuel price in the international market, Biman still maintains a low price for its customers.

Expressing the challenge of this sector, he said, “Infrastructure development has been the biggest obstacle that we have been facing in the tourism sector since its inception.”

Green Hill Holidays, a travel agency firm, joined the fair with lots of offerings and services.

Director of operation Tarif Hossan told The Independent, “We are highlighting four domestic packages, which include, Dhaka to Sundarban, Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka to Rangamati and Dhaka to Bandarban, to customers especially in this fair.”

All the packages provide amenities such as hotel accommodation, breakfast and free bus services for sightseeing, he said.

The package price starts from Tk 7,500 to Tk 12,500, he added.

 The participating organisations, during the three-day fair, offered special discounts on airfares and other tourism products and services. Attractive tour packages for domestic and foreign destinations were available for the visitors.

Tour operators said nearly 63.88 lakh international and around 20 lakh domestic passengers had travelled by air on different routes last year, helping to boost the local tourism industry.

Last year's sales of the event participants amounted to nearly Tk 3 crore and expectations were higher this year, said organisers.





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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.

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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