Monday, 16 May, 2022

DITF draws poor response at new venue

The location is far away from the centre of the capital and poorly connected with public transports, say both traders and visitors

DITF draws poor response at new venue
sun photo

Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) at its new venue in Purbachal has failed to attract visitors.

Although 18 days of the month-long event have elapsed, the visitors remained in low numbers compared to a regular year in the past.

This lukewarm response to otherwise a crowded event is being attributed to its far away location from Dhaka city this year along with an under-construction expressway that leads to the venue.

The transport services are also scanty to reach the fair venue, said participating traders and visitors.DITF was not held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 26th edition of the month-long fair kicked off from January 01 at the newly inaugurated Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre at Purbachal, over 10km away from Kuril in Dhaka. “The response was good at the first  day of the fair, but in the following days it came down drastically although the visitors’ presence is better on holidays,” said Abdur Rashid, sales supervisor at Nabisco Biscuit pavilion. Nabisco pavilion used to deal with a huge rush of visitors in the previous fairs.

“Our sale is not even one tenth compared to our previous sales as few people from Dhaka city are coming to the fair. We find only two customers out of 100 visitors we attend every day,” Sharifullah Siam, sales official at Regal Furniture remarked.

Regal Furniture and other prominent furniture companies alleged that they are struggling to showcase their newly launched products in their allotted small pavilions.

In earlier events, these companies would display more or less 150 products, which is now totally impossible at the tiny pavilions of the exhibition centre.

As a result, they have resorted to multimedia display and online platform.

Echoing Siam, Hatil Furniture’s senior official Shakawat Hossain said,“ Response is better on holidays, but that is still low if we compare with a week-day number of visitors at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.”

He alleged that they cannot display their whole range of newly launched products at the exhibition centre and have to resort to online platform.

He, however, informed that the response to their products is overall good as a renowned and trusted furniture company. 

Nabisco’s Rashid and most other participants said visitors are facing trouble with transports while coming to the new fair venue. “Only BRTC buses are providing transport service. The people have to suffer especially when they return to the city. Long queues are a common phenomenon at the BRTC bus counters near the venue,” Rashid said. “The fair at the new venue will be vibrant and successful if communications system is improved,” he suggested.

Tofael Ahmed, a businessman of Dhaka’s Uttara who came to the fair along with his spouse, told the Daily Sun that he had to face a hectic journey from Uttara to Purbachal for the road condition and pay as high as Tk 600 fair for a three-wheeler ride. 

He also said that the number of stalls is much lower and product prices are much higher this year compared to those held in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.

Mahfuza Aktar Siddiqui, a housewife from Dhaka’s Mirpur area, came to the fair by their own car along with her family members, including her physically challenged child.  “Coming to the fair has been easier for us as we’ve come by our own car, but it is definitely difficult for others who don’t have their cars,” she said.

Amid cold response, some businessmen expressed apprehension that they might not be able to get return of their invested money.

“Daily sales have drastically fallen to Tk 40,000 to Tk 60,000, which was Tk 1.5-2 lakh in previous years. Even it came down to as low as Tk 17,000 this Monday,” commented a crockery trader seeking not to be named.

He is skeptical that he will be able to make any profit this year. The trader said he paid Tk 4 lakh to get a stall allotment and has to pay salaries of 4-5 staff at his shop.

This year the DITF is being held in 23 pavilions, 27 mini pavilions and 162 stalls of the exhibition centre.

The other participating countries include India, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea.Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) under the Minister of Commerce is organising the event which remains open from 10am to 9pm every day.

The entry fee for adults is Tk 40 and Tk 20 for children. The access to the fair for the freedom fighters is free.

Some 30 buses are providing shuttle services between the DITF and Kuril Bishwa Road charging Tk 30 each passenger.