ourists’ opinions about a country frequently are based on what they have heard or read about that country and they have definite country-specific attracting and repelling factors affecting their decisions regarding travel to that country (Kale and Weir, 1986). The industry directs various forms of promotion at a relatively larger number of people in different countries of heterogeneous socio-economic -and cultural backgrounds, diversified needs and expectations, various consumption patterns, and different leisure-spending behaviors (Hossain, 1999). Tourist industry of a destination country extends its efforts to uncover these factors and, accordingly, based on these factors it develops necessary promotional strategies to draw attention and grow substantial interest among the potential tourists. While designing promotional strategies, the industry also requires making decisions about which promotional tools, media, images, and formats to use. The tourist industry is highly fragmented and diversified consisting of many different organizations (Greenley and Matcham, 1983) like the national tourism organization (NTO), private tour operators, airlines, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, railways, road transport companies, etc. Out of these firms, promotion strategies of the following important firm have been considered for this study:

Promotional Strategies of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation:

National Tourism Organization or the official tourist organization of every country mainly performs the responsibility of promoting the country as a tourism destination. The marketing efforts   of   official   tourist   organization   will   have   two   major objectives: (I) it will seek to create knowledge of its country in particular markets and persuade visitors thereby to visit that country, (II) it will seek to create an identifiable image of its country’s tourist attractions into coherent single image (Shaft, 1985). The BPC is the national tourism organization in Bangladesh. It is entrusted with the promotion as well as the development of the country’s tourism. With this end in view, it uses some traditional techniques to perform the responsibility of stimulating tourism demands among the markets. That is, it promotes Bangladesh as a tourist destination through a variety of traditional promotional measures. For disseminating information regarding tourism arrangements in Bangladesh and promoting the same among the prospective markets, it has been producing and distributing printed information materials and   literatures. These mainly include brochures, souvenirs, booklets, guides, leaflets, posters, etc. The Corporation also publishes a wide range of attraction-based folders. The Corporation publishes a special brochure on package tours and its corresponding tariffs as well. The BPC sends these printed materials to different tour operators and travel agencies abroad, Biman’s overseas offices, Bangladesh mission offices for distribution among potential tourists. These offices distribute   those   information   materials   among   the   potential markets free of costs. In addition to the above free literatures, some priced materials like video films, tourist maps, and view cards. In addition, picture post cards are available in the above offices for purchase at a nominal price. It also distributes these promotional materials among the domestic resident foreigners, visiting foreign tourists, and the potential local tourists. The price list of the BPC’s promotional materials and publications are given in the following table:

Table – 2

Prices of the BPC’s Promotional Materials and Publications Promotional Materials and Publications Price in TK

Promotional Materials and Publications

Price In Tk.

1.   Video Films:Visit Bangladesh (30 min) An Invitation to Bangladesh

2.   Publications:

Bangladesh Tourist Handbook 10 Picture Postcards Bangladesh Tourist Map Dhaka Tourist Map

3.   Posters:

Six Types of Posters

(on Tourist Attractions in Bangladesh)










Source: Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation

The producers of the typical products and services are not usually found to use printed sales literatures to the extent that tourism firms use. However, the use of printed materials is a unique and distinguishing feature of the promotional activities of the tourism industry and, therefore, it needs to spend a major portion of its promotional budget for the production and distribution of these printed sales literatures. The role of printed sales literatures is multi-faceted. It carries key messages in the form of, demonstration by pictures, promise in words for need fulfillment, projection of the image through symbols, stimulation of demand, display of materials in the distribution outlets, and offer for special Incentives. These Information materials also act as forms of advertising and sales promotion and as media of advertising.

Also   disseminates   information   through   its   own   information centers.

The BPC produces documentary video films on important attractions of the country. It has two such video films — (a) Visit Bangladesh and (if an invitation to Bangladesh. These documentary video films covering the important tourist spots are shown among potential tourists of the important tourist generating countries through Bangladesh Mission offices, tour operators, and film clubs there. Bangladesh Mission offices abroad usually arrange these audio-visual presentations, especially during the tourist season, for the potential tourists. The completion of another new documentary film called “Discover Bangladesh” focusing on the entire natural beauty of the country is expected to promote the potential tourists. Besides, Bangladesh tourism has now-a-days started receiving cable TV highlights and press coverage in a limited scale.

Furthermore, the BPC has undertaken steps for mutual cooperation with neighboring countries, especially Nepal, for joint publicity campaign, joint production of tourist publicity materials, joint marketing, exchange of tour groups, travel agents, travel writers, tour operators, and joint training facilities in various tourist services including hotels and is maintaining liaison with various international tourism trade organizations like the WTO, SAARC, ASTA, PATA, etc (Hasan, 1988: 24).

BPC, sometimes, publishes advertisements in specialized journals and special interest magazines. BPC executives have reported that they do not use any international TV channels, foreign newspapers, or excellent general newsmagazines to Strategic Promotional Approaches to Developing Tourism in Bangladesh promote Bangladesh as a tourist destination. The main reasons for not using those media are that Bangladesh tourism products/services and facilities still require further development to meet the needs of the international tourists and the inability of the BPC to afford advertisement costs for those highly expensive media. Even, a significantly lower usage of local TV and newspaper media to promote the potential tourists is observed. Of course, BPC emphasizes advertisements in local newspapers and magazines. It makes some specific advertisements in those printed media for motivating the local tourists, domestic resident foreigners, and visiting foreign tourists to visit certain places and avail themselves of some specific offers of the BPC.

The BPC uses direct mail service to publicize the facilities and attractiveness of the projects it has implemented to target groups and, occasionally, it communicates with the leading public/private organizations with a view to persuade them to hold their meeting, conferences, seminars, etc. in the BPC projects mainly in Kaptai and Cox’s Bazar (Hasan, 1988). Apart from these, the BPC has recently launched a 50-page Web Site that also contributes to the promotion of Bangladesh tourism among the potential markets of the world.

Within the marketing promotional mix, publicity appears to be the most useful form of promotional measures of the BPC. BPC participates in international tourism exhibitions. For example, it participates in the International Tourism Exchange at Berlin (ITB1 that is the largest tourism exhibition in the world. Bangladesh gets newspaper coverage there depicting the country’s tourism attractions. Such exhibition, therefore, helps Bangladesh generate interest of the potential visitors. The BPC can sell attractive package tours to the international tour operators and a large number of individual’s visitors in the fair. The BPC observes Tourism Month’ between 16 October and 15 November every year in a befitting manner to create awareness among the potential market, and to give an effective understanding for and promotion of tourism in Bangladesh. The program details of this tourism month embodying different shows and cultural functions appear to have been designed to attract prospective tourists from home and abroad. The BPC arranges cultural night shows, food festivals, dress-as-you- like competitions, seminars, symposium, audio­visual presentations during this month (Hossain, 2001). All these effectively help attract the attention of potential tourists worldwide through the relevant international media. These media then act as publicity to persuade prospective tourists to visit particular places, spots, regions, or country in general. The BPC also takes necessary steps to publish articles featuring Bangladesh tourism in different reputed professional magazines and tourism related journals (Hasan, 1992) which again act as publicity for the industry. Apart from this, newspaper articles and stories describing the potentials of tourism and photographs highlighting the attractions are published in different domestic newspapers and magazines in Bangladesh. Moreover, Cable television’s sometimes telecast tourism related information, expose visual scenery, and show some specific spots of Bangladesh free of costs. Bangladesh Television and other private TV channels, through their programs, also highlight tourism potentials of the country. Some selected overseas tour operators and travel agents with which BPC has business contacts do a limited publicity for Bangladesh tourism. They provide necessary information regarding Bangladesh Tourism among the potential tourists and motivate them to visit the country. One successful method of publicity is to arrange a special promotion by inviting groups of people such as news media writers, photographers, or other members of travel trade (Coltman. 1989). The Corporation also emphasizes this type of publicity. During 1994, the corporation with 23 foreign tour operators conducted such a familiarization tour (Hossain, 2001).

Like other tourism firms, BPC also uses sales promotion techniques to motivate the potential tourists. It offers quantity discounts, children discounts, off-season rebates, free information materials, and improved service package for its package tours, cruise programs, and accommodations. BPC offers special price reductions ranging from 15 to 30% during its service week and in the off-season (Hossain, 2001). Extra services, improved services, and improved food at the existing price are also offered during this service week. Besides, BPC offers live music programs as an additional attraction with the renowned local artists in the cruise boats. This tourism service week accompanied by sales promotion techniques in the form of reduced price and service offers help, generate interest among the local people and foreign citizens residing in the country. Through these sales promotion techniques, BPC also tries to create quick responses of the potential tourists, especially of those who want to avoid the in-season tourist rush.

Personal selling, as an element of promotion mix, has important role to make the prospective tourists aware of the tourism products and services and persuade them to visit the country. This sort of selling may be used by non-profit making museums as well as by the conference manager of a large hotel (Cooper, Fletcher, Gilbert and Wanhill, 1994). In tourism marketing, personal selling may also happen through telephone inquiries. For example, a sales manager or a telephone receptionist may inquire the participants of an international seminar over telephone about the possibility of a trip to any destination or the need for an accommodation. The officials of Bangladesh missions abroad, Birnan’s overseas branches, and the foreign tour operators as well as the travel agencies have significant role to invite and motivate the potential foreign tourists to visit Bangladesh. BPC maintains contacts with some selected tour operators and travel agencies in some important tourist-generating countries. Sometimes, it organizes complementary tours for the selected foreign tour operators to familiarize them with the tourism installations and facilities in Bangladesh. It is mentioned earlier that BPC conducted such a familiarization tour for 23 foreign tour operators of some selected source countries during 1994. They were provided with return air tickets, accommodation facilities, food, etc. and were taken to different destinations at the cost of the Corporation. The Corporation has also plans to conduct more familiarization tours in the near future. Those approved tour operators along with the few travel agencies in the source countries present Bangladesh as a tourist destination to the prospective tourists, motivate them to visit the country, and sell package tours as well as cruise programs to them in advance. Thus, they promote the tourism industry in Bangladesh through personal both selling and publicity.

BPC utilizes the country’s heritages and emphasizes the natural beauties in its promotional activities to achieve better results and ensure success. As a promoter of the country’s tourism, BPC also emphasizes the creation of an identifiable image of the country as a tourist destination. Its accommodation sector, rent-a-car services and hospitality units emphasize the creation of the country’s image through satisfying their tourist customers. Moreover, BPC highlights individual services through special brochures, leaflets, and folders.

Contact employees represent the organization, physically embody the product, directly influence customer satisfaction, and act as walking billboards from a promotional standpoint (Zenithal and Bitner, 2003). Therefore, BPC also trains its contact personnel’s and employs to ensure better interactions with the tourists and maintain effective relations with the tour operators and travel agencies in the tourist generating countries and thus motivate them to sell its package programs (Hossain, 2001).

It is already mentioned that BPC cannot afford much for its promotional activities. The following table shows the marketing promotion budgets and actual promotion expenditures of the BPC:

Table -3

Marketing Promotion Budgets and Actual Promotion Expenditures of the BPC


Marketing Promotion Budgets (TK. in Lacks )

Actual Promotion Expenditures (TK. in Lacks)











 Source: Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation

BPC sets its promotion budgets based on what it can afford (Hossain, 2001). It now allocates and spends near about one core taka every year for its marketing promotion activities. The respondent executives of the Corporation mentioned that this amount is not sufficient to promote tried prospective market worldwide. The amount spent every year is mainly for producing and distributing sales literatures and publishing advertisements in local newspapers/magazines. However, it can be observed that the amount allocated is not fully utilized for this purpose. Moreover, it is understood that the significant portion of the promotion budget of the BPC is spent or misused for publishing unnecessary advertisements regularly in some domestic periodicals and magazines which are existing merely in name and whose circulation is very limited {Hossain, 1999). Sometimes, the total circulation of those periodicals and magazines are even less than 500 to 1000 copies and whose messages even never reach the prospective tourists.