State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali on Saturday said an initiative is being taken to declare 2021 as the ‘Tourism Year’ marking the golden jubilee of the country’s independence.
“Work is underway to declare the coming year as the ‘Tourism Year’ on the occasion of the golden jubilee of independence. After receiving the consent of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a detailed action plan will be adopted in this regard,” he said.
Md Mahbub Ali made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar titled ‘Tourism of Bangladesh: Opportunities & Challenges’ organised jointly by the ministry and a travel magazine at a city hotel.
Mentioning that the tourism market is competitive, the state minister said people will incline towards the service provider that gives the maximum number of services. “If you can ensure quality of services, the tourism sector will prosper. Just because it didn’t happen before, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen now.”
He believes everything can be achieved if there are will, enthusiasm and hard work. “Besides, visible changes can be made to the tourism sector if we’re enthusiastic and diligent,” he stated.
The state minister admitted that the tourism sector could not flourish till now for various reasons. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the development of the tourism sector will be ensured. All the recommendations from all stakeholders will be implemented,” he added.
He mentioned that the government will brand all historical and archaeological sites, including Ahsan Manzil, Lalbagh Fort, Chhoto Katra and Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Claiming that the law-and-order situation in Bangladesh has improved, Mahbub Ali said tourists are safe in each and every corner of the country. “The formation of tourist police has ensured increased security of visitors in every tourist attraction of the country.”
He told the audience that work has begun to implement the master plan for the tourism sector as local and foreign experts have been appointed to identify the areas of possibility and deficit in the sector.
Md Mohibul Haque, Senior Secretary of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, told the audience that integrated initiatives are really needed to advance the tourism sector.
“That’s why every Bangladeshi has to take responsibility. The media has to play a positive role. Reports should be published in such a way that the world doesn’t get a negative impression about Bangladesh,” he stated.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has no entertainment system for tourists in the real sense, the senior secretary said action is being taken in that regard following prime minister’s directives.
Among other initiatives to boost tourism, Haque mentioned that the government is launching direct flights on Sylhet–London route from April. It has also acquired 912 acres of land to develop the Saidpur Airport to bring it up to the international standard.
Jabed Ahmed, chief executive officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board; Ram Chandra Das, Chairman of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation; Md Mokabbir Hossain, Managing Director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines; among others, spoke at the event conducted by Abu Sufian, editor of Bhraman Travel Magazine.