A three-day international tourism fair began in the capital Thursday under the banner ‘Biman Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair 2018.’
On the opening day, Biman’s stall at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, the venue, drew crowds of travellers as the national flag carrier offered 20 per cent discount fares for six overseas destinations.
Organizers said that 50 organizations from Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, UAE, Kampuchea, China, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Vietnam and India opened stalls at the fare.
Three Indian provinces, West Bengal, Orissa, Kashmir and Tripura opened their separate stalls.
Prominent presence has been made by the Nepal Tourism Board, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Tourism Authority of Thailand and The Tourism Ministry of India.
Civil aviation and tourism minister AKM Sahjahan Kamal inaugurated the fair jointly organized by Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh and Biman.
In the outgoing fiscal, he said, tourism made nine per cent contribution to the gross domestic product showing its potentials.
He said, Pahela Baisakh, International Mother Language Day and Independence Day had great potentials to attract tourists.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation’s chairman Akhtaruzzaman Khan Kabir urged the government to introduce e-Visa to attract more tourists.
Tour operators told New Age that Bangladesh’s expensive hotels and air fares as well as poor network of roads and other communication facilities made it a less attractive destination to tourists.
The other negative perceptions that discourage tourist for visiting Bangladesh include absence of security and tourist facilities at reasonable costs, said Mahbub Hosion Sumon, managing director of Touch Creation Ltd.
Indian high commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Canadian high commissioner Benoit Préfontaine, Nepalese ambassador Chop Lal Bhushal, Maldivian ambassador Aishath Shaan Shakir and Vietnamese ambassador Tran Van Khoa said that Bangladesh had a bright future in tourism.
In 2017, said the Indian envoy, Bangladesh and India signed a memorandum of understanding to operate cruise service to enable the two sides’ tourists to travel through the Sunderban.
Benoit Préfontaine described Bangladesh as the best place for tourism and business and underscored the need for operating direct flights between Bangladesh and Canada.
He said that the number of Bangladeshi students in Canadian universities increased by three times over the last decade. The fair would remain open to visitors from 10am to 8pm until April 21.
There is no entry fee, said organizers.
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