Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon has said Bangladesh is now on the global tourism map with its growing presence though it could not successfully attract the international tourists in a significant way in the past.
“If we can invest properly, the tourism industry can emerge as a big source of foreign currency earnings contributing to the national economy in a greater way,” he said.
Menon came up with the remarks while inaugurating the seventh Bangladesh International Tourism Fair (BITF) 2017 organised by the Bangladesh Foundation for Tourism Development in the city on Thursday.
He said the private sector can play a greater role for further development of the country’s tourism industry.
“The government can facilitate but we have to encourage the private sector to invest in the tourism industry and help boost the industry. There’s no chance of incurring losses though investment in this sector,” said the Tourism Minister.
Urging the private sector to invest in the tourism industry, Minister Menon said the industry badly needs more investment to help the sector grow.
He said they have to focus on the inbound tourism to attract foreign tourists in the country to boost the industry.
The minister also laid emphasis on diversifying tourism products and exploring new destinations with infrastructure development which will help increase both domestic and international tourists in Bangladesh.
He said the number of domestic tourists has significantly increased with more tourism spots and some 1 core tourists have visited their favourite tourist spots in the country in the last one year.
He said Bangladesh has many heritage sites and more foreign tourists can be attracted to the country by projecting those heritage sites before the world.
The minister also said through the upcoming OIC Tourism Ministers Conference which is scheduled to be held in Bangladesh in November this year, they would try to promote Muslim heritages to the international community.
FBCCI President M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said the government needs to ensure tourists’ safety and develop the tourists’ spots with an international atmosphere.
He said the foreign tourists have their own lifestyle and Bangladesh will have to remain happy with the local tourists if foreign tourists are not given the environment what they want in tourism spots.
The apex trade body president also stressed the importance of regional cooperation in boosting the industry in a faster pace.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Chairman Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir said tourist vehicles are important for tourists and urged the authorities concerned to minimise tax on vehicle import to be used for tourism.
He also urged the business community to enhance their cooperation in tourism sector.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Secretary SM Ghulam Faooque and CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Dr M Nasir Uddin, organiser and Bangladesh chapter president of South Asia Tourism Federation Rezaul Ekram were, among others, present.