Wednesday, 30 November, 2022

Tourism industry still lacks prudent plan

Tourism industry still lacks prudent plan

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It is very unfortunate that despite being an ancient human habitat founded around 300 BC and a natural beauty hotspot with a variety of mesmerising destinations, including the world's longest natural sea beach and the largest mangrove forest, Bangladesh has been failing to attract the expected number of foreign tourists and, thus, cannot develop tourism as a sector contributing satisfactorily to the national GDP. According to the World Economic Forum’s annual report titled ‘Travel and Tourism Development Index 2021,’ Bangladesh ranks 100th among 117 countries in the world. Reports say the country earned $167.2 million from foreign tourists in that year, contributing 2.2 percent to the GDP, which was the lowest among South Asian countries.

It is a matter of pride to us that our country has all – history, archaeology, natural beauty and ancient palaces – that enchant tourists most. Nevertheless, while South Asia and Southeast Asia have become quite popular tourist destinations over the past few years, Bangladesh cannot tap its full potential mainly because of some identified yet unsolved limitations. Experts working in the tourism industry often blamed the underdeveloped communication system, insecurity and harassment of foreign visitors and social conservatism as barriers to flourishing this sector. However, no significant steps have been taken yet to overcome such hurdles. While the communication system has been developed to some extent through constructing and renovating roads and highways, other modes of transportation, especially domestic air services, are not developed yet and traffic congestion and road accidents turn severe enough to be unbearable to a tourist from a developed country.

Besides, insecurity and harassment of foreign tourists still prevail in tourist spots which, in addition to the lack of world-class tourist facilities, allegedly discourage tourists to visit our small Muslim-majority country where there are some social and religious values and norms that directly contradict the demand of tourists from other religions and cultures.

However, to compete with other South Asian nations gaining much from the tourism industry, Bangladesh should develop plans prioritising the needs of foreign travellers, not based on our traditional way. The authorities concerned should ensure those facilities that would amuse the visitors of other lands. Most of all, destinations must be well equipped so that foreign tourists could feel encouraged to visit the country and recommend others to explore the beauty of this delta.