Generally Tourism is defined as the practice of touring or travelling for pleasure or recreation and the guidance or management of tourists as business. In so far, the tour is not connected with permanent residence or with any earning activity. Tourism has become one of the largest and dynamic sectors in economic and hospitality arena. The importance of tourism as expressed by poet Oliver Gold Smith “Deep within every human being is an urge, to explore, to wander, and to uplift new horizons.” Tourism enhances knowledge, gives pleasure, enhances mutual love and friendship among men, broadens outlook and acquaints with nature and people. It is also considered to be the largest industry in terms of gross output. Offers huge employment opportunities, improved standard of living, contribute significantly to overall development of a country’s economy and can earn huge amount of foreign currency. Factors like convenient transport, no restrictions on travel, availability of information on various tourist spots and new marketing techniques contributing the growth of overall number of tourists in the present world.
Additionally, a number of socio-demographic factors such as higher educational standards, advancement in information technology, rapid urbanization, and country’s positive image abroad have strongly influenced the growth of tourism. There is no doubt that our tourism sector has enormous potential. The people in our country have been carrying a legacy that, Bangladesh is a hospital nation and welcome tourists to this lush green and ancient civilization. Domestic, out bound and in bound tourism are in practice in our country. There are over seven hundreds spots of interest in the country. These include nature driven ones like sea beach, green valleys, forests, arch enological and historical sites, ionic religious places, cultural events and manmade wonders. Thus Bangladesh is unique tourist destination, We are proud to share our sense of fulfillment that Bangladesh has been elected as the chairperson of Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) for a term of 2018- 19 and Dhaka has been announced as the OIC City of Tourism for 2019. But The Holy Artisan episode of terrorist attack in 2016 by militants and killing of a few foreign citizens after the incidence depicted a negative picture in the country’s tourism sector, which shaken the position of Bangladesh as a tourist destination.
Following this incidents USA, UK, Japan, Australia, France and New Zealand declared red alert for tourists of their countries to visit Bangladesh. Although by now, red alert relaxed by some countries yet yellow alert still remains. However, by now, the activity of tourism has expanded and got momentum in both in public and private sector. The World Economic Forum carried out an in-depth analysis of the Travel and Tourism competitiveness of 136 economies across the world. At present Bangladesh among 136- countries occupies 125th place. Moreover, according to World Travel and Tourism Council Report 2016 Contribution of Travel and Tourism Sector to GDP in Taka840.2bn contribution in USD 10.6bn, share of total GDP 4.3%. Contribution to employment directly supported job 1,057000 share of total employment 1.8%.
To achieve a consistence success from the tourism industry, commendable initiatives taken by government and other agencies these are:
Aiming to develop sustainable tourism industry, and to promote activities of tourism sector, government declared tourism as a Thrust Sector, formulated National Tourism Policy2010, established National Tourism Council, enacted Tourism Protected Area and Exclusive Tourist Zone Policy 2010, passed Foreign Investment Policy Guidelines and has taken initiatives to extend overseas marketing facilities of tourism attractions. National training institute of tourism offers diploma course in tourism management for deserving candidates, imparting skill training to the employees, guides, promoters and educated youths on the disciplines related to travel and tourism. National university is encouraging and expanding tourism and hospitality management education in all colleges under the university. Bangladesh Parjaton Corporation (BPC) has undertaken programs for publicity of tourism products and Created tourist accommodation and amusement facilities, Tourism Operators Association of Bangladesh is organizing International Tourism fair, private tourism training institutes are providing training on various aspects of tourism. According to World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index Annual Report 2017, the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness of 136 economies across the world, Bangladesh among 136- countries occupies 125th place.
Poor Shape of Tourism: Main Causes
• Declaration of tourism as a’ Thrust Sector’ by the government remains mere rhetoric. The strategies adopted under the National Tourism Policy are not yet being seriously taken up for implementation. National Tourism Council seems to be a dying platform as it remains ineffective.
• Concerned Ministry’s and organizations” role to promote activities of tourism sector is not up to mark and up to requisition. Bureaucracy Controls every aspects of tourism sector. Lack of coordination among concerned agencies exists in tourism. As a result, speed of promotional works of the sector is rather slow.
• The role of private sector found to be in significant unlike other tourist generating countries of the world.
• Tourism database is not maintained properly and thus we don’t have enough statistics regarding tourism. Institutional survey and research on tourism are also inadequate.
• Prevailing social and political unrest discourage foreign tourists to visit Bangladesh. Moreover, insecure life of tourist, lack of tourist support facilities, in sufficient infrastructure and poor marketing facilities are also negative points to attract tourists.
• The country often suffers from image crisis, which reflects a negative image to the tourist generation countries. Moreover, initiatives of Bangladesh missions abroad are not up to mark and up to requisition regarding promotion of tourism.
• Bangladesh is yet to achieve any significant progress in terms of international tourism receipts and international tourist arrivals compared to other South Asian countries.
Bangladesh tourism strategies demand new leadership with scientific perspectives. The Recommended strategies are as follows:
• Up-dating the National tourism policy 2010, strong physical planning strategy to develop tourism sector keeping conformity with international standard, and activating The National Tourism Council.
• Adequate measures are needed for development of tourism infrastructures to establish connectivity to the tourism spots. There should be a strong marketing policy as well as marketing system.
• Establishing rule of law, consolidation of national solidarity, and consensus, reducing terrorism, religious extremism. Ensure proper security arrangement for the tourist’s at all focal points.
• Coordinated measures of government other agencies and community and are needed to promote activities of tourism industry.
• Need based training of professionals and other stake holders on general aspects of tourism and tourism industry, promotional activities and social and economic implications of tourism.
• Developing website professionally on tourism, streamlining E Marketing and establishing communication networks both internally and externally.
• Steps should be taken by the government to modernize the methods of data collection, transmission and analysis.
• Conservation of eco-system in coastal zone and island, provide more facilities to ethnic minorities and to improve our multi-cultural legacy and entertainment media. This could be used as a powerful tool for strengthening tourism industry.
• Easing social and political unrest, visa facilitation, immigration facilities, custom issues, taxation, modernization of aviation regulations and the development of convergent rules for the traveler concerned enterprises. Enhance diplomatic relations with tourist generating countries. Bangladesh Embassies or High Commissions should organize seminars, meetings, exhibitions, to discover new investment opportunities from abroad for country’s tourism sector.
• Private sector’s organizations need to have broader engagements with tour operators in India and Myanmar that will help make Bangladesh an extended destination for tourists.
Tourism promotion can be compared with dream selling. To sell dreams to people, dreams must be beautiful and believable. With is end in view firstly: Bangladesh needs organized structural development and very professional management in tourism sector. Secondly: To flourish tourism as well as to the ability of the national economy to benefit from tourism depends on the availability of investment to develop the necessary infrastructure, ability to meet up the other needs and to raise country’s image in the international arena. Finally, following the Global Code of Ethics for tourism set by the UNWTO, the tourism industry should move forward with holistic and creative multispectral approaches of concerned government and other non-government agencies as proposed in the article. It is expected that such approaches will contribute significantly to the national economy and in the establishment of happy and prosperous Bangladesh.