Bangladesh sets sights on ambitious tourism plans

Cox’a Bazar will be heavily developed for tourism. Pic: StevenK/Shutterstock

BANGLADESH is largely overlooked as a tourist destination, and it’s partly owing to it being prone to flooding as well as a severe lack of tourism development and marketing.

But over the next few years, things might take a turn for Bangladesh as the country’s tourism sector makes aggressive plans to bolster the industry.

TTG Asia reported that plans are underway to boost the beach destination of Cox’s Bazar, a stretch of white sand that’s often deemed “the world’s longest beach”.

Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, CEO of the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), said during the PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2016 in Cox’s Bazar, “We expect a comprehensive master plan for tourism will be ready by end next year. [It] will focus on investment opportunities available to develop various tourism spots across the country.”

Kabir added that the plan also involves advising the tourism ministry on potential new destinations and attractions in the country, help frame policy guidelines, and provide human resources training.

A photo posted by Arifur Rahman (@rahman.alif) on

The report also said that tourism efforts to develop Cox’s Bazar include constructing an exclusive tourist zone that will house hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and other facilities.

On top of that, the BTB is also working on developing a community-based tourism program across the country to promote local cultures and heritage.

Kabir said the board will be initiating community-based tourism on a wide scale while utilizing limited tourism resources.

He said, “Tourists have huge attraction towards local people’s lifestyle, their language, tradition and culture, which will fetch economic benefit.”

For instance, India banks on community tourism in the case of a lesser-known hill in the city of Siliguri. Foreign tourists also contributed to economic progress of locals who lived in the town.

However, in the case of Bangladesh, Bengal Tours Limited managing director Masud Hossain said that language barriers must be addressed as well as the training of locals to deal with tourists.