Though there are some questions regarding the international ambience of the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF), it surely has become the most desired destination for the urban shoppers. Throughout the year they literally anticipate for the fair. Overcoming Dhaka’s famous traffic it is always a tough task to reach the fair premises smoothly. When buyers explore an area of 1.25 million square feet to visit numerous stalls of a wide range of products in the mid of a hectic crowd, they ultimately feel that shopping is not always a fun! In most cases shoppers visit DITF along with their family members and friends. Not all of them enjoy shopping in the same way. Besides, often the adults are seen feeling tired after walking for an hour and exploring only half or one third of the trade fair compound. Then the experience of the kids and teenagers are understandable. In such a situation amusement opportunities can relieve the exhausted shoppers and re-energize them to begin afresh their shopping expedition. Realizing this fact the organizers of DITF are offering a plethora of amusement options to its visitors.
After entering the fair premises the visitors will see a series of attractive pavilions and stalls of different companies. An amusement park has been set in such a corner where shoppers can think of taking a break. Near the VIP gate of DITF, visitors can explore a lovely place which is full of attractive rides including magic boat, wonder wheel, honey swing, family train and kids’ rides. There is an option of watching 9D movies as well. Besides children, people of all ages have the opportunity to ride these rides. This park’s rides are comparatively affordable to all. We met Sanjida Yasmin, a first-year student of a private university who was accompanied by a number of her classmates, in the amusement park. While sharing her experiences about the rides of the park she stated, “Till today I saw people buying different products from DITF on TV channels. I have never come here before. My friends have invited me to join them to visit the fair. But I was a bit confused as I didn’t want to buy anything from the fair. I was roaming aimlessly with them. But the rides of this park have made my day. They are just thrilling and superb. These rides have reminded me of my childhood days when I used to visit the village fair.”
Like the riders the traders and operators of these rides were also very happy because of a huge turnout in the fair. A good amount of profit gained from their business was the main reason for their happiness. Ebadat Mia, an operator of the amusement park situated beside the VIP gate, opined, “I think there are a lot of people who visit the fair only to pass quality time. They don’t shop, rather they just gossip with their friends. They find that amusement park is a great option for them. Besides, kids request their guardians to bring them here to enjoy our rides. Thus we are doing good business this year.”
Apart from the amusement park beside the VIP gate there is another amusement park which is situated at the right side of the main gate of DITF. With a number of exciting rides including honey swing, toy train (for children), family train, twister ride, human-powered ferris wheel and pirate ship this amusement park is ready to offer the children a great experience. Raihan Adib Mugdho, a nine-year-old standard three student who came to the fair with his mother, said, “I have come to the fair for the first time. When my mother asked me to visit the fair, I was frustrated as I have to miss my afternoon games. I actually didn’t realize what surprise was waiting for me here. I rode the mini train and twister helicopter alone and my mother accompanied me in the family train, honey swing and merry go round. All these rides were fun.” When asked whether he liked the fair or not, Mugdho replied, “I really enjoyed my time and liked the fair. My mother has bought me toys and candies. And of course, the rides were truly exciting. I wish I could come here again to have the same experience.”
Billal Hossain, guardian of a child, was waiting along with his wife Mansura Hossain for their only son Ahnaf Hossain who was enjoying a ride in the park. While responding to our query he said, “I took my son to the National Children’s Park last week. But he couldn’t enjoy any ride as the Children’s Park was closed due to development works. My son was upset as we didn’t know about it. However it’s good that we have taken him here today. Ahnaf is enjoying every ride and we are also very pleased to watch him happy. I think all these rides are good but it would be better if the price of the tickets could be reduced.”
Besides two parks, children in the DITF can enjoy free toy trials in some of the toy shops. This year the toy shops have come up with some exclusive toys which have incredible features. Ishraq Chowdhury, mother of a six-year-old boy Imtiaz Chowdhury Nafio who was buying toys for her son, said, “Some of the toys are a bit expensive. But the good thing is that the salespersons here do not force anyone to buy any toy. They remain patient and friendly enough while children are trialing their toys. I have already bought a couple of toys for my son.”
In this era of internet, shoppers often go live on social media. They can do it from the DITF premises and can take selfies as well. To help such social media enthusiasts there are a number of selfie corners at the DITF compound. Some of the companies have brought the characters of Mickey Mouse alive to promote their products and welcome visitors to their stalls. Many of the shoppers were seen taking pictures with them. Unlike the previous years, the fair authorities have provided enough free spaces with greeneries and benches so that the shoppers can sit to take rest and chit-chat for a while. As a result, shoppers will not feel bored while shopping.