Dhaka is chosen as the "City of Tourism" for 2019 by the tourism ministers of the OIC member state at the closing session of the 10th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) in the capital.
"I am delighted to announce that Dhaka becomes City of Tourism for the next year by the OIC member states," Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Shahjahan Kamal told a press briefing after the concluding session at a city hotel here.
The conference, attended by high level representatives, including 15 tourism ministers of 25 OIC member states, adopted the Dhaka declaration to preserve and promote Islamic heritage worldwide.
During the conference, Shahjahan Kamal said Bangladesh proposed a Taka 130 crore project for conserving and protecting Muslim heritage of Bangladesh as well as seeking support from OIC in setting an institute here for creating skill human resources for the travel and hospitality sector.
"The conference agreed to provide financial support as per our project for conserving the Muslim heritage in Dhaka and the OIC will review the proposal of setting a human resource development institute here," he said.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary S M Ghulam Farooq and Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Dr Nasir Uddin also spoke at the briefing.
Farooq said the government will renovate 70 to 80 old ancient mosques in Dhaka city with the financial support of the OIC under the project.
He said the declaration of Dhaka as "City of Tourism" will create huge interest about Bangladesh to the Muslim tourist of OIC member states. "We will make a strategic planning to promote Dhaka centering the award city of tourism," he added.
Dr Naisr said it is a great achievement for Bangladesh as Dhaka becomes the City of Tourism. "Bangladesh achieves the award defeating four other cities of OIC member countries and its closest contestant Gabala of Azerbaijan was made the City of Tourism for 2020," he said.
The last 9th session declared Madina and the Iranian Tabriz city as the capitals of Islamic tourism for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The OIC, he said, understands that Bangladesh has huge potential in tourism sector and encouraged Bangladesh to discuss ways of cooperation among the member states.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the conference this morning where the chairmanship of the conference transferred to Bangladesh tourism minister from his Niger counterpart for next two years.
Apart from the core agenda of ICTM - development and promotion of Islamic culture and heritage - the 10th session also reviewed progress of the tourism projects in different countries those are being implemented in line with joint cooperation on Islamic tourism.
With a market potential of more than 50 Muslim countries and no less than 1.6 billion Muslims, tremendous opportunities await those who are willing to meet the demands for Muslim-friendly tourism products and services.