By Dr. Bhubon Chandra Biswas
Dr. Bhubon Chandra Biswas, is Additional Secretary and CEO, Bangladesh Tourism Board .
Located within the deltaic landmass of three major rivers–Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna–Bangladesh boasts of a naturally, ecologically, culturally and religiously rich and diverse variety of destinations that are treasures of visual treat
Bangladesh is a country of harmony and heritage endowed with a rare gift of nature. It is the rainbow land where multi-hued cultures have blossomed from times immemorial. Blessed with an unparalleled biodiversity replete with exotic flora and fauna, lush green landscape, endless golden beaches, and scenic hills, it is simply impossible not to fall in love with Bangladesh. A range of fantastic architecture depicted through historical monuments and ruins reflecting Bangladesh’s rich past, delicious food and hospitable people add value to the tourism potential of the country.
After gaining Independence in 1971, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) was established in 1972 as the national tourism organisation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism to start the work on developing tourism in the country. As the pioneer government organisation, BPC started to develop tourism attractions, providing support services to tourists, roping in private stakeholders and educating people in the industry along with taking initiatives in branding and promotional activities to promote tourism in the country.
Globally, tourism emerged as an industry in the early 19th Century and became one of the major contributors in international commerce, emerging at the same time one of the main sources of income for many developing countries.
Bangladesh realised the potential of tourism in the development of the country in the late 90s. The Government of Bangladesh declared “tourism” as one of the major thrust sectors in its Industrial Policy of 2010 and promulgated the Tourism Policy-2010 and enacted the Parjatan Board Act2010. Within the legal framework, the government established Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) as the designated National Tourism Organization (NTO) with a mandate to develop tourism product and promote tourism of the country with a view to shaping Bangladesh as a tourist hub in south Asia. Within just five years of its establishment, BTB boosted Bangladesh’s image in the world tourism community by dint of its innovative activities earning for itself recognition for its immense contribution in the development of tourism in the region. BTB is duly contributing to develop human resource by arranging and providing training, seminar, workshop, roundtable conferences, familiarisation tours and so on.
BTB believes that sustainable tourism can improve livelihood, education levels and quality of life for local people. It can refocus energy and action towards conservation, and help to preserve cultural traditions and heritage in a country like Bangladesh. Tourism can bring a real sense of pride and identity to communities.
Sustainable development is actually a constitutional obligation in Bangladesh. According to Article 18 A: Protection and Improvement of Environment and Biodiversity, “The state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to preserve and safeguard the natural resources, biodiversity, wetlands, forest and wildlife for the present and future citizens”.
In Bangladesh, it is encouraging to see private sector’s participation and development of partnership between the public and private sectors. Under the overall framework of strengthening national capabilities and promoting regional cooperation in sustainable tourism development, it is imperative to outline the plan of action at the national level and supporting action at the regional level on identified thematic areas;
(a) human resources development in the tourism sector;
(b) the economic impact of tourism;
(c) environmental management of tourism;
(d) infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector;
(e) facilitation of travel; and
(f) regional and sub-regional cooperation in tourism development
The country has a lot of potentials to attract tourists in Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar, the longest uninterrupted sandy sea beach; the Sundarbans, the world largest mangrove forests; and the large Ganges delta is a boon for the country. Besides these, Bangladesh is also the home of Royal Bengal Tigers.
Having lots of natural beauties, biodiversity, heritage and cultural diversification and achievement in international arena; it is necessary to draw attention of the international communities and valued guests by focusing and promoting the potentials of the Beautiful Bangladesh:
• A country of harmony of heritage
• Development of human resources by expansion of tourism education
• Multi-faceted initiatives to attract foreign investment
• Above 7% consecutive growth of GDP (8.13% in 2018-2019)
• Low cost high value destination
• The welcoming and hospitable nation
• Infrastructure development in tourism
• Cox’s Bazar- the longest unbroken sandy beach
• Sundorbans the largest mangrove forest
• The largest delta in the world
• An evergreen country
• Splendid historical and archaeological sites
• Vibrant culture and lifestyle
• Exotic ecotourism destination
Beautiful Bangladesh: A Harmony of Heritage
Bangladesh is a small country in South Asia sharing its borders with India, Myanmar, and Bay of Bengal bordering the south. This country is situated within the deltaic landmass of three major rivers namely Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Topography of the country is almost flat with huge network of rivers and canals spanning across the country. Bangladesh’s vast green fields and low hills offer amazing scenic sights for visitors.
Adventure and Wildlife:
Adventure tours in Bangladesh are very popular. Expansive landscape and amazing wildlife, along with rich cultural heritage, offers many avenues of adventures to enjoy this beautiful country. Some of the most popular travel adventures in the Bangladesh are offered through Hiking the hills of Chittagong Hill, sailing across the river waters and spending time with a tribe.
Some of the famous hill tracts are Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachori.Even exploring the Sundarbans is a treat for adventurers. The forest is famous for its tigers, popularly known as the Royal Bengal Tiger as well as other animals such as spotted deer, wild boar, rhesus monkey, salt-water crocodile, water monitor lizard, pythons, etc.Many species of birds including many exotic birds unique to the place offer visual delight to the tourists at “Tangua Haor” of Sunamgonj. A river cruise through the Chittagong Hills along with a trek to the naturally formed lotus shaped Boga Lake is quite popular among visitors, who also enjoy staying at Bawm village.There is an option to trek to Keokeradong, the highest peak in Bangladesh. Visit to the Chakma village and historical Buddhist “Kyangs” at the hill district Bandarban takes you back to the golden and pristine days of old cultural heritage.
River cruise and Water Sports:
With the grand and resourceful Bay of Bengal at its south, Bangladesh is known as land of rivers. Bangladesh is a picturesque country with numerous rivers, mangrove forests, historical sites and an abundance of wildlife. Cruise tours along major rivers of the country is a favored way to see the exotic beauty of the nature, historic monuments, enthrall architectures and the life style of the hospitable nation, as it allows visitors to experience wellknown sights in a relax, yet memorable way. As a riverine country, river cruise plays an important part of the country’s tourism.
One of the most fascinating cruises is the historic old paddlewheel service known as the Rocket Steamer. These paddle steamer was built in the British regime in the dockyards of Calcutta which have been playing a significant and historic role in the water travel. Kapati Lake, located in the hill districts of Rangamati, offers excellent opportunities for water sports. The lake is good for sailing and swimming and anglers can enjoy fishing in the placid waters of the lake. Cruising by country boat on the river Sangu is another attraction of adventure and thrill; this unique opportunity may create ever ending feelings of happiness for adventure lovers. The long coast of Bangladesh offers numerous opportunities for water sports. Cox’s Bazaar is one of the most popular locations for these and other water sports while Sundarbans is ideal for boating and sailing.
Food and Shopping:
Bangladesh is known as a country of hospitality with generous behavior of her people and tasty food. Our food is delightful; a pure South Asian delicacy. The spectacular combination of our age-old traditional values and a diverse range of perfectly blended spices give Bangladesh cuisines a unique taste for which people from all around the world do not hesitate to come back here again. Shopping in Bangladesh, especially for clothing’s is undoubtedly fantastic and attractive to the tourists in terms of quality and price. It can be one of the most attractions for foreign visitors.
Bangladesh is a country of religious harmony and peace. Peoples belong to different religions are living here with fellow feelings and togetherness among themselves having their individual belief and faith. Discovering and generating ideas and sharing views of spiritualism of Bangladesh could be one of the reasons to visit Bangladesh.
There are a good number of Religious Place like Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Lalbag Mosque, Dhakeswari Temple, Kantajew Temple, Dharmarajika Bauddha Vihara and The Church of Bangladesh along with historically runarounds archaeological sites having historical as well as spiritual connectivity: these are Sonargaon, Mainamati, Sixty Dome Mosque, Paharpur, Mahasthangarh, Lalbagh Fort, Sitakot Vihara and Vasu Vihara. In Bangladesh people are enjoying here plenty of religious festival all around the year and thousands of visitors including pilgrimage come to these festivals. Some of the popular festivals are Bishwa Ijtema, Dubla Rash Mela, Fair of Adinath, Kothin Chibor Dan Utsab, Lalon Mela and many more.