Tourism Industry-The Next Driving Sector of Bangladesh economy
Tourism and Bangladesh: Some Basic Ideas
Tourism has experienced continuous growth and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world over the past six decades. This is one of the today’s most crucial, dynamic and charismatic international industry sectors. Tourism has become one of the major international trade categories. Now-a-days, the export income generated by international tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals and automotive products. For many developing countries, it is one of the main income sources and the number one export category, creating much needed employment and opportunities for development. Tourism is essential for many countries due to its capacity to generate income through the consumption of goods and services by visitors and tourists, the taxes levied on businesses in the tourism industry and the employment opportunity for the service industries linked with tourism. These service industries include transportation services such as road, air and cruise ships and boats, accommodation such as hotels, motels, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and other hospitality industry services such as spas, resorts, etc. The global economic and social changes have a great impact on tourism business development in recent years have given rise to new challenges and opportunities.
Before going further it is better to discuss about tourism very briefly. Tourism is traveling for predominantly recreational or leisure purposes or the provision of services to support this leisure travel. According to UNWTO, tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited. UNWTO defines tourists as people who “travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”.
Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity in the world. If we look on the international tourism status then it will be translucent. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals increased from 25 million to 903 million from 1950 to 2007. There were over 903 million international tourist arrivals in 2007 with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2006 whereas it was 698 million in 2000 (growth was 7.3% of 1999). International tourist receipts were US$ 856 billion in 2007. The overall export income generated by these arrivals (international tourism receipts and passengers transport) grew at a similar pace, outgrowing the world economy, exceeding US$ 1 trillion in 2007, or almost US$ 3 billion a day. Despite the uncertainties in the global economy, arrivals grew at around 5% during the first four months of 2008, almost a similar growth than the same period in 2007. For the whole of 2008, a softening of growth is anticipated due to the uncertainties posed by the current global economy affecting consumer confidence and constraining disposable income. Based on UNWTO reports, most of the top tourism earners in 2007 are European countries while the United States remains at the top earner. Tourism has many fold benefits to us and our environment. In very brief, tourism fosters environmental awareness both among locals and visitors. It links to social and economic development.
The conservation of natural and cultural heritage of an area as well as to improve the living standards of its inhabitants is the major contributions of tourism. On the other hand, tourism has negative impacts too. Attracting a high volume of tourists can have many negative impacts, as for example the impact of 33 million tourists a year on the city of New York of USA. Tourism has many potential negative impacts to fragile environments. The environment can be affected negatively by cruise ship pollution in many ways, including ballast water discharge and by pollution from aircraft. Tourism may pollute the local culture and heritage which may induce the crime situation and behavior of the locals. To minimize those negative impacts and increase the benefits of tourism it is very important to practice tourism management specifically sustainable tourism management. By practicing (sustainable) tourism management, negative impacts of tourism can be tuned into benefits to the local and national economy as well as for the environment. According to UNWTO, the top 15 destinations absorbed 98% of all international tourist arrivals in 1950, in 1970 the proportion was 75% and this fell to 57% in 2007, reflecting the emergence of new destinations but many of them in developing countries. Visitor expenditure on accommodation, food and drink, local transport, entertainment, shopping, etc. are important pillar of their economies, creating much needed employment and opportunities for development of many destinations. Nearly 80 countries earned more than US$ 1 million from international tourism in 2007. It has been expected that tourism will grow relatively strong in Asia. The region has a fast escalating economy. The growth of demand for services is related to income and in the long run is even higher than that of income. This explains also the growth of tourism over the past 50 years, which may continue in countries such as China or India. In this connection, Bangladesh stands in an important position which has great potentialities in tourism development.
Though tourism and its business are ancient activities but its development and promotion has not yet been carried out. Tourism has been advanced dramatically in the world whereas we lag behind. The geographical position, natural beauties, biodiversity, history, culture and traditions, climate, hospitable people are the basic foundation of tourism development in Bangladesh which are in advantageous position for us. The causes of not developing tourism in Bangladesh are: lack of proper planning for long run, lack of efficient tourism manpower, insufficient government and private sector involvement, security, etc. Now we need proper and long-term tourism master plan based on strong tourism policy by involvement of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to culture and practice tourism business in our attractive green country. Bangladesh has great potentialities to be an attractive tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors and tourists. By the way, we can harness the economic, socio-cultural, environmental and institutional manifold benefits of tourism to enrich our country from various corners. Bangladesh may adopt tourism as an instrument for poverty alleviation, environment awareness and education, participation, infra-structure development, i.e., sustainable development.
There are different types of tourism. Some of these types which are prosperous for Bangladesh are: ecotourism, community-based (eco) tourism, pro-poor tourism, mass tourism, ethnic tourism, adventure tourism, religious tourism, historical tourism, etc. Now it is emergent to take effective and practical initiatives to flourish these types of tourism to earn more foreign exchange as well as local and regional development of Bangladesh. The tourists’/visitors’ decision on selecting any tourist destination can be influenced by six factors i.e., locations, transports, attractions, activities, accommodation and catering services of a given destination. According to SNV (Netherlands Development Organization) there are some pre-requisites which are called 10A’s in short for Sustainable Tourism Development. These 10A’s are: Attractions, Activities, Access, Accommodation, Actors, Amenities, Affinity, Acts, Ability and Administration. We have to study those elements to find out the problems and solutions to make our country a safe, secured and popular tourist destination. We have not only the largest sea beach Cox’s Bazar and the largest single tract of mangrove forests Sundarbans but also many other natural, cultural, religious and historical sites and attractions which have strong potentialities to be unique selling points for Bangladesh. We have to go far away to reach the standards of tourism but it needs cordial and joint initiatives.
Overview of Bangladesh Tourism
Tourism in Bangladesh is a slowly developing foreign currency earner. Bangladesh is rich in both natural and cultural heritage and its tradition of hospitality is a potential additional attraction for tourists and travelers. It has everything to attract international and domestic tourists.
In the northern part, comprising of the Rajshahi division, there are archaeological sites, including the temple city Puthia in Rajshahi; the largest and most ancient archaeological site, Mahasthangarh in Bogra; the single largest Buddhist monastery, Paharpur in Naogaon; the most ornamental terracota Hindu temple in Bangladesh Kantaji Temple, and many rajbaris or palaces of old zamindars. In the south-western part, mainly the Khulna Division, there is the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest of the world with Royal Bengal Tiger and spotted deer. The historically and architecturally important sixty domed mosque in Bagerhat is a notable site. In the south-eastern part, which is the Chittagong division, there are mainly natural and hilly scenarios along with sandy sea beaches. The most notable beach is the longest unbroken sandy sea beach in the world in Cox’s Bazaar. In the north-eastern part, Sylhet division, there is a green carpet of tea plants on small hillocks. Natural reserved forests are great attractions. Migratory birds in winter, particularly in the haor areas, are also very attractive in this area.
It is true travel & tourism is not an unmixed blessing for every country. Sometimes foreign cultures can be invasive and irreparable damage can be done to historic sites. In Bangladesh there are quite a few World Heritage sites and they remain especially vulnerable but with proper management of the places the threat can easily be averted. As for culture, vulnerability of Bangladesh is out of the question given the enormous strength of the nation’s cultural identity built over the course of hundreds of years. In fact, the benefits outweigh by a huge margin whatever curse there is of tourism, as far as Bangladesh is concerned. The country earned about $80 million in foreign exchange from travel & tourism in 2006 and with vigorous promotional activities it can hope to increase substantially its share of the multi-billion dollar international tourist receipts. Moreover, more tourists and travelers would most likely mean more trade and investment and therefore more growth of the economy.
TOURISTS SPOTS IN BANGLADESH
:: COX’S BAZAR
Cox’s Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots & the longest sea beach in the world (approx. 120 km long). Miles of golden sands, towering cliffs, surfing waves, rare conch shells, colorful pagodas, Buddhist temples and tribes, delightful seafood–this is Cox’s Bazar, the tourist capital of Bangladesh. The warm shark free waters are good for bathing and swimming & while the sandy beaches offer opportunities for sun-bathing.
Every year lots of foreign & local tourist come here to spend their leisure in Cox’s Bazaar. Though the season is in winter but Cox’s Bazar sea beach is crowded almost through out the year. Especially in winter season, it is hard to get an accommodation in the hotels if booking is not made earlier.
The side of river Naf and the Bay of Bengal situate Teknaf Town, which is the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. It is a real natural beauty of hills, forest & Naf River. Lots of Salt fields are there by the side of River Naf. There are natural waterfalls in Teknaf, which increases the beauty of nature. We can come to Teknaf from Cox’s bazaar by an exotic jeep drive besides the Seashore or we can go there by bus or Microbus by road. By road journey, it is 84 km from Cox’s Bazaar.
:: ST. MARTINS ISLAND
St. Martins Island is the most beautiful Coral Island where it has live corals. Its only 30 km from Teknaf and we can go there by local motorboat, tourist boats, or sea truck. This small coral island about 10km (6mi) southwest of the southern tip of the mainland is a tropical cliché, with beaches fringed with coconut palms and bountiful marine life. There is nothing more strenuous to do here than soak up the rays, but it is a clean and peaceful place without even a mosquito to disrupt our serenity. It’s possible to walk around the island in a day because it measures only 8 sq km (3 sq mi), shrinking to about 5 sq km (2 sq mi) during high tide. Most of island’s 5500 inhabitants live primarily from fishing, and between October and April fisher people from neighboring areas bring their catch to the island’s temporary wholesale market. Cheera-dwip is a part of St. Martins Island but divided during tides. We can go to Cheera-dwip by walking. About two and a half hours walk from St. Martins Island or we can go there also by local motorboat or tourist boat. In that Island we will find the Corals – living and dead all over the Island.
:: FAY’S LAKE
Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches and its fine cool climate always attract the holiday-markers. Described by the Chinese traveler poet, Huen Tsang (7th century A.D) as “a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water” and given the title of “Porto Grande” by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers. This lake is a natural beauty of Chittagong, where we can enjoy boating and also we can spend our leisure time in a serene atmosphere of lake and hills.
The famous Chandranath Temple & Buddhist temples are in Sitakundu, 37 km far from Chittagong city. Famous among the many temples in this place, the Chandranath Temple and the Buddhist Temple has a footprint of Lord Buddha. These places particularly the hilltops are regarded as very sacred by the Buddhists and the Hindus. Siva-chaturdashi festival is held every year in February when thousands of pilgrims assemble for the celebrations, which last about ten days. There is a salt-water spring 5 km. to the north of Sitakunda, known as Labanakhya. Chandranath’s temple is situated on the top of the hill from where we can enjoy the beauty of the sea & also the hill areas. Now in Sitakunda there’s made an eco park.
Rangamati is full of natural beauties of Bangladesh. From Chittagong a 77 km. road amidst green fields and winding hills will take us to Rangamati. It is also connected by waterway from Kaptai. This is the only place to visit throughout the year. Rangamati expresses her full beauty in rainy season. Trees becoming greener, waterfalls are in full tide, the river Karnaphuli in her full wave in this season.
Parjatan holiday complex is the best place to stay in Rangamati. There are other hotels in Rangamati where we can stay. Boating is the prime attraction in Rangamati. We can go to Kaptai and also by Karnaphuli River we can go deep inside the hill areas where on the way we will find lots of natural waterfalls. By boat we can visit the tribal villages, King Chakma’s (tribal) Palace that is called Chakma Rajbari, Rajbonbihar pagoda, Tribal museum etc. We can also enjoy the tribal handmade crafts if we go for shopping in the local market.
Khagrachhari is the natural wild beauty of Bangladesh. Here we can visit the tribal lifestyle of Chakmas’ in Khagrachari. We can also visit Alutila hill. Approximately 100 meters long a very dark Cave is the mysterious beauty of Alutila hill.
Lots of hills and hilly areas, waterfalls, River Sangu, Lakes and the tribal culture are the main attraction of Bandarban. We can go to Bandarban from Chittagong by road. Chimbuk hill is one of the major attractions of Bandarban. We can enjoy the journey to Chimbuk Hill by jig jag hilly roads. It’s the third highest mountain in Bangladesh of approx. 3000 ft height. Reach Chimbuk by jeep or microbus from Rangamati. A beautiful Rest house is there on the top of Chimbuk hill. If we are lucky then we can feel the clouds touching our whole body. If we take the prior permission from Roads and Highway Department we can spent a night in the rest house on the top of Chimbuk hill. If we stay there a night, we will remember our stay for our whole life with the calmness of nature hearing sometimes the wild animals squalling.
Sundarban is the world biggest mangrove forest. In Bangladesh tourism, Sundarban plays the most vital role. A large number of foreigners come to Bangladesh every year only to visit this unique mangrove forest. Besides, local tourists also go to visit Sundarban every year. The area of great Sundarban is approximately 6000 sq. km. The Sundarbans are the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world, stretching 80km (50mi) into the Bangladeshi hinterland from the coast. The forests aren’t just mangrove swamps though; they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles, which once covered the Gangetic plain.
The Sundarbans cover an area of 38,500 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water. Since 1966 the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. Sundarbans is home to many different species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes. Over 120 species of fish and over 260 species of birds have been recorded in the Sundarbans. The Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangeticus) is common in the rivers. No less than 50 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibians are known to occur. The Sundarbans now support the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water Crocodile (Crocodiles paresis) in Bangladesh, and that population is estimated at less than two hundred individuals. Climate in the Sundarbans is moderate. Air is humid. Full monsoon is from June to September. The annual rainfall average between 65″ and 70″. Only means of transportation inside the forest is boat. There is no road, no trail of a path anywhere.
Kuakata, locally known as Agar Kannya (Daughter of the Sea) is a rare scenic beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh. Kuakata in Latachapli union under Kalapara Police Station of Patuakhali district is about 30 km in length and 6 km in breadth. It is 70 km from Patuakhali district headquarters and 320 km from Dhaka. At Kuakata excellent combination of the charming natural beauty, sandy beach, blue sky, huge expanse of water of the Bay and evergreen forest in really eye-catching. From its seashore we can watch both sunrise and sunset. The coconut trees increase the scenic beauty of this seashore. The main tourist season is in winter but all over the year tourists visit this place.
HISTORICAL PLACES OF BANGLADESH
:: AHSAN MANJIL
Basically, it was the residence of the Nawab Abdul Gani who renovated this building in the year 1872 and named it after his son Khaza Ahasanullah. On the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka the Pink majestic, Ahsan Manjil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an epitome of the nation’s rich cultural heritage. Open 9 am- 5 pm from Saturday to Wednesday and 3-5 pm on Friday. Thursday is close.
:: LALBAGH FORT
The fort of Aurangabad, popularly known as the Lalbagh Fort, was built in 1678 AD by the then Viceroy of Bengal Prince Mohammad Azam, son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. The fort has a three storied structure with slender minarets at the South Gate. It has many hidden passages and a mosque of massive structure. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh Fort are the Tomb of Pari Bibi (Fairy lady) and Audience room and Hummam Khana (bathing place) of Nawab Shaista Khan, now housing a museum. Lalbagh fort is in the old town of Dhaka at Lalbagh. It is open 10 am-5 pm Sunday to Friday & Saturday is closed.
:: SHAT GAMBUJ MOSQUE
In the year 1459 the great Azam Ulugh Khan Jahan established this mosque, which called Shat Gambuj Mosjid. In Bengali Shat means the number 60. Though it is called Shat Gambuj Mosjid, actually the numbers of Gambuj in the mosque are 81. The general appearance of this noble monument with its stark simplicity but massive character reflects the strength and simplicity of the builder. This mosque is 160 ft long and 108 ft. in its width. This is one of the most beautiful archeological and historical Mosque in Bangladesh made by red burn mud. The archeological beauty of this Mosque enchants the tourist till now. Besides this Mosque an archeological museum is there where we can find that times archeological and historical materials.
:: SHAGORDARI (JESSORE)
This is another tourist spot, which is in Jessore district, under Khulna Division. Sagordari is famous for the residence of Great poet Michael Modhusudon Datta, famous for his wonderful composition of sonnets. He was born in the year 1824 and died in 1873. This two-storied residence, which is known as Michel Modhusudon museum, is now under the custody of Bangladesh Archeological Department, where we can see the daily usage materials of the great poet. Every year from 25-30 January a great mela (exhibition) is organized here, which is called Modhumela need after our beloved poet. A huge crowd comes to Shagordari every year for the occasion of this mela.
:: CENTRAL SHAHID MINAR
Symbol of Bengali Nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere.
:: STAR MOSQUE
A very beautiful mosque of the city is situated at Mahuttuly on Abul Khairat Rd; just west of Armanitola Govt. High School. Architecturally faultless (Mughal style) is a five-dome mosque with hundreds of big and small twinkling stars as surface decorations. The stars have been created by setting pieces of chinaware on white cement. Seen from the front and from far it looks as if shining above the surface of the earth. The inside of it is even more beautiful that the outside, lovely mosaic floor and excellent tiles with many floral patterns set on the walls, are all in complete harmony. The Sitara Masjid was built originally with three domes in early 18th century by Mirza Ghulam Pir, a highly respectable Zamindar of Dhaka.
:: DHAKESHWARI TEMPLE
Dhakeshwari Temple (11th Century) situated at the place where the old part of Dhaka meets the new part. This is the oldest Hindu temple in Dhaka City. The name Dhakeshwari is also associated with the origin of the name Dhaka.
:: MOSQUE OF BABA ADAM
Of a slightly later date, the elegant 6-domed mosque (43’x36′) of Baba Adam in Rampal near Dhaka was erected by one Malik Kafur during the reign of the last llyas Shahi Sultan, Jalauddin Fateh Shah in 1483 A.D. It displays the same characteristic features of the period such as the faceted octagonal turrets at 4 corners, the curved cornice, the facade and 3 mihrabs relieved richly with beautiful terracotta floral and hanging patterns.
On the Dhaka-Chittagong highway about 29 km from Dhaka, Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From that century onward till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was the subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal. Another name of Sonargaon was “The City of Panam”. Now, the relies of buildings of the old dynasties, Goaldia Mosque and the Folklore Museum that houses artifacts from every cultural trait of the country increase the attractions of this place. At Jainal Abedin Museum in Sonargaon, we will find some historical and archeological things. Among the ancient monuments still intact are the Tomb of Sultan Ghiasuddin (1399-1409 A. D), the shrines of Panjpirs and Shah Abdul Alia and a beautiful mosque in Goaldi village.
:: MAHASTHANGARH [BOGRA-THE OLDEST ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE]
Mohasthangarh is one of the main attractions in north Bengal. It was the capital of Kingdom of the Mourjo, the Gupta and the Sen Dynasty. This is established in 2500 BC. It is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh is on the western bank of river Karatoa 18 km. north of Bogra town beside Bogra-Rangpur Road. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified, oblong enclosure measuring 5000 ft. by 4500 ft. with an average height of 15 ft. from the surrounding paddy fields. Beyond the fortified area, other ancient ruins fan out within a semicircle of about five miles radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are Govinda Bhita Temple, Khodai Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city. This 3rd century archaeological site is still held to be of great sanctity by the Hindus. Every year (mid-April) and once in every 12 years (December) thousands of Hindu devotees join the bathing ceremony on the bank of river Karatoa.
:: PAHARPUR BUDDHIST MONASTERY
Paharpur Buddhist Monastery is another tourist attraction of North Bengal. Paharpur is a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj in the greater Rajshahi district. We can go to Paharpur from Jaipur district. Its only 10 km from Jaipur. King Dharma Pal established Paharpur Buddhist Monastery in 7th century, which is the most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas, has been excavated. The main Mandir is in the center of this Monastery. This 7th century archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment, occupying a quadrangular court, measuring more than 900 ft. externally on each side, has high enclosure- walls about 16 ft. in thickness and from 12 ft. to 15 ft. height. With elaborate gateway complex on the north, there are 45 cells on the north and 44 in each of the other 3 sides with a total number of 177 rooms. The architecture of the pyramidal cruciform temple is profoundly influenced by those of South-East Asia, especially Myanmar and Java.
:: LALMAI MOINAMOTI AND SHALBON BIHAR
They are famous historical and archeological places around Comilla. These are a series of hillocks, where the Northern part is called Moinamoti and the Southern part is called Lalmai; and Shalbon Bihar is in the Middle of Lalmai and Moinamoti, which the was established in 8th century by King Buddadev. Salban Vihara, almost in the middle of the Mainarnati-Lalmai hill range consists of 115 cells, built around a spacious courtyard with cruciform temple in the centre facing its only gateway complex to the north resembling that of the Paharpur Monastery. Kotila Mura situated on a flattened hillock, about 5 km north of Salban Vihara inside the Comilla Cantonment is a picturesque Buddhist establishment. Here three stupas are found side by side representing the Buddhist “Trinity” or three jewels i.e. the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
:: KANTAJEES TEMPLE [DINAJPUR]
Kantajee’s Temple is in Dinajpur district. It is the most ornate among the late medieval temples of Bangladesh is the Kantajee’s temple near Dinajpur town, which was established in the year 1722 by Ram Nath, son of Maharaja Pran Nath. The temple, a 51′ square three storied edifice, rests on a slightly curved raised plinth of sandstone blocks, believed to have been quarried from the ruins of the ancient city of Bangarh near Gangharampur in West Bengal. It was originally a navaratna temple, crowned with four richly ornamental corner towers on two stores and a central one over the third stored. Unfortunately these ornate towers collapsed during an earthquake at the end of the 19th century. In spite of this, the monument rightly claims to bathe finest extant example of its type in brick and terracotta, built by Bengali artisans. The central cell is surrounded on all sides by a covered verandah, each pierced by three entrances, which are separated by equally ornate dwarf brick pillars. Every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terracotta plaques, representing flora fauna, geometric motifs, mythological scenes and an astonishing array of contemporary social scenes and favorite pastimes. The beautiful wall paints of this temple tell us the story of Ramayan-Mohabharat, Krishna-Lila and Dev-Devies.
:: CHOTO SONA MOSQUE
One of the most graceful monuments of the Sultanate period is the Chhota Sona Masjid or Small Golden Mosque at Gaur in Rajshahi Built by one Wali Muhammad during the reign of Sultan Alauddin Husain Shah (1493-1519). Originally it was roofed over with 15 gold-gilded domes including the 3 Chauchala domes in the middle row, from which it derives its curious name.
Puthia has the largest number of historically important Hindu structures in Bangladesh. The most amazing of the village’s monuments is the Govinda Temple, which was erected between 1823 and 1895 by one of the maharanis of the Puthia estate. It’s a large square structure crowned by a set of miniature ornamental towers. It’s covered by incredibly intricate designs in terracotta depicting scenes from Hindu epics, which give it the appearance of having been draped by a huge red oriental carpet
The ornate Siva Temple is an imposing and excellent example of the five-spire Hindu style of temple architecture common in northern India. The ornate temple has three tapering tiers topped by four spires. It’s decorated with stone carvings and sculptural works, which unfortunately were disfigured during the War of Liberation. The village’s 16-century Jagannath Temple is one of the finest examples of a hut-shaped temple: measuring only 5m (16ft) on each side, it features a single tapering tower, which rises to a height of 10m (33ft). Its western facade is adorned with terracotta panels of geometric design. Puthia is 23km (14mi) east of Rajshahi and 16km (10mi) west of Natore.
:: THE SHRINE OF HAZRAT SHAH JALAL
Shrine of Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal is the most historical interest in Sylhet town. Today, more than six hundred years after his death, the shrine is visited by innumerable devotees of every caste and creed, who make the journey from faraway places. Legend says, the great saint who came from Delhi to preach Islam and defeated the then Hindu Raja (king) Gour Gobinda, transformed the witchcraft followers of the Raja into catfishes which are still alive in the tank adjacent to the shrine Swords, the holy Quran and the robes of the holy saint are still preserved in the shrine.
:: SHRINE OF HAJRAT KHAN JAHAN ALI
Besides the Shat Gambuj Mosque, shrine of Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali is only 3 km ahead. We can go there by rickshaw (a three wheeled peddler). A great number of tourists go the shrine to pray for this great man Hajrat Khan Jahan Ali. From this shrine a steamer goes to the Thakur Dighi where you will find the ancient crocodiles in this Dighi. (Dighi is a local name of larger pond) Besides this Dighi a Nine Gambuj Mosque is an attraction also for the tourists.
:: SHRINE OF HAZRAT BAYEZEAD BOSTAMI
The shrine of this famous saint is situated in Chittagong. This great priest came to Chittagong in 10th Century to spread the religion of Islam. We can also visit the ancient rare variety of Turtles in the Dighi in the Shrine premises. This shrine attracts a large number of visitors and pilgrims. At its base is a large tank with several hundred tortoises. Tradition has it that these animals are the descendants of the evil spirits (genii) who were cast into this shape because they incurred the wrath of the great saint who visited the place about 1100 years age.
:: SHRINE OF SHAH AMANAT
The Shrine of Shah Amanat is another place of religious attraction, located in the heart of the town; the shrine is visited by hundreds of people everyday who pay homage to the memory of the saint.
OTHER ATTRACTIVE SPOTS
Jaflong is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Sylhet division. It’s about 60 km far from Sylhet town and takes two hours drive to reach there. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills. It is situated besides the river Mari in the lap of Hill Khashia. The Mari river is coming from the great Himalayas of India, which bringing million tons of stone boulders with its tide. We can watch the stone collection from the river in Jaflong as well as we can enjoy the boating in the river Mari. Jaflong is totally a hilly area of real natural beauty where hills are greenish with the forests. Lots of wild animal live in this forest. The other tourist areas nearby Jaflong are Tamabil, Sripur and Jaintapur.
Srimongal is the place of tea gardens, hills and forest areas on the hills. It is famous for the largest tea gardens of world covered by lush green carpet. One can have a look into the spectacular tea processing at Tea Research Institute. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tea every year. Most of the tea estates are in Srimongol. It is called “The land of two leaves and a bud”. It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one in the world. The terraced tea garden, pineapple, rubber and lemon plantations from a beautiful landscape. It is known as the tea capital in Bangladesh. Just offer entering into the tea estates the nice smells and green beauty will lead you many kilometers away. There are some hotels in Srimongol where we can stay, but if we can manage to stay in the Tea garden that will give us a different type of memorable experience. For that we will have to take the permission from the owner of any tea state.
:: MADHABKUNDA WATERFALL
Madhabkunda waterfall is one of the most attractive tourist spots in Sylhet division. Lots of tourists and picnic parties come to Madhabkunda every day for their enjoyment. The journey to Madhabkunda itself is exotic. On the way we can see the greenish beauty of tea garden, the hills and the zigzag road through the hills will increase the joy of your journey. In Madhabkunda we will see the great waterfall – falls of million tons of water from 200ft. height. Big bolder of stones and the black stones in giving a shape of care in Madhabkundu. There is a Parjatan Motel with a good restaurant for accommodation and fooding.
:: LAWACHERRA RAIN FOREST
Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the important & well-reserved forests in Bangladesh. Here visitor may see gibbons swimming through the trees and birds like bee-eater owls parrot. It is a good habitant of Deer, leopard, wild chicken, squirrel, and python. The terrain is hilly and vegetation is fairly thick. Only one rare Chloroform tree of Asia is prime attraction. Khasia & Manipuri is two important ethnic-tribe live here. Manipuri is famous for its rich culture especially for dancing, singing. They are also famous for their traditional weaving. It is known as colorful community. Khasia tribe is famous for their betel leaf cultivation. They make their villages high on hilltop in deep forest and so far from town. It is like “A Piece of Paradise”.
:: BALDHA GARDEN
Baldha Garden is established in old Dhaka named Wari, the unique creation of the late Narendra Narayan Roy, the property owner of Baldha; the year of establishment of this garden was on 1904. This garden has a rich collection of indigenous and exotic plants, which is one of the most exciting attractions for naturalists and tourists. A number of varieties tree are there in this garden. Near about 18,000 plants of 800 species are there in the garden. It is open from 8:00 am-5:00 pm, 7 days a week.
:: JAMUNA BRIDGE
Jamuna Bridge is 110 km from Dhaka on the River Jamuna. This bridge is 4.8 km long and it is the 11th largest bridge in this world. It is a real beauty at nights when sodium lights lighten the bridge. Some beautiful resorts have already been established near the bridge to encourage tourists in this area.
:: SUSANG DURGAPUR
Susang Durgapur is 182 km from Dhaka, a real natural beauty of forest river & hills area where the Garos and other tribal live. We can also enjoy boating in the river. Wild Elephant some times comes from forest. But going to Susang Durgapur is a real troublesome for the tourists due to the location and communication problem in this area. It is advisable only to go there in winter season.
:: GAJNI PARJATAN CENTER
Gajni Parjatan Center is 220 km far from Dhaka. Where we will find the natural beauty of hills, lakes, forest & lots of birds here, it is a natural tourist spot where we can see the tribal life of our tribes. We can enjoy boating in the lake and also there is a natural waterfall what we will like to watch. If we are lucky, enough we can see the wild elephants in the forest.
:: WAR CEMETERY
Second World War warrior’s graveyards are in this Cemetery. There are 755 graves in this graveyard of the great warriors who died in world war from1939 to 1945 in Chittagong areas. In this well-preserved cemetery at a quiet and scenic place within the city lie buried in eternal peace over 700 soldiers from British, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, East and West Africa, The Netherlands and Japan who laid down their lives on the Myanmar front during the World War II. Every year a number of tourists come here to visit this Cemetery
TRANSPORTATION OF BANGLADESH
The transport sector of Bangladesh consists of a variety of modes. The country being a flat plain, all three modes of surface transport, i.e. road, railway and water are widely used in carrying both passengers and cargo. In recent year’s construction of a number of bridges such as the Jamuna Bridge, Meghna Bridge, Meghna-Gumti Bridge, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, Shambhuganj Bridge and Mahananda Bridge have been completed. The 4.8 km long Jamuna Bridge which has been opened to traffic in June 1998 is the eleventh longest in the world. It has established a strategic link between the East and the West of Bangladesh has integrated the country, is generating multifaceted benefits to the people and promoting inter-regional trade. Apart from quick movement of goods and passenger traffic, it is faci1itating transmission of electricity and natural gas and has integrated the telecommunication links.
Bangladesh can be reached by air from any part of the world. Biman Bangladesh airlines connects Dhaka with 27 major cities of the world. Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Athens, Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kualalumpur, London, Muscat, Dhahran, Baghdad, Kuwait, Yangoon, Rome, Tripoli, Tokyo, Singapore, Baharin, Frankfurt, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Sarjah, Seoul, Riyadh and Delhi. Besides Biman, several other (international) carriers also fly to and from Dhaka. There are now 11 operational airports in Bangladesh. These are Dhaka, Barisal, Chittagong, Comilla, Cox’s Bazar, Ishsardi, Jessore, Rajshahi, Syedpur, Sylhet and Thakurgaon. Of these, the airports at Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet serve international routes.
The Bangladesh Railway provides an efficient service to places of interest such as Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Mymensingh, Bogra, Rajshahi, Dinajpur starting from Dhaka. The inter-city Express Service is available to and from important cities at cheap fares. About 32% of the total area of Bangladesh is effectively covered by the railways. State-owned Bangladesh Railway operates a track of 2706 kilometer, employs about 60,000 people, owns a fleet of 307 locomotives, 1240 coaching vehicles and 643 freight wagons, and provides passenger and cargo services through 502 stations.
About two-thirds of Bangladesh is a wetland laced with a dense network of rivers, canals and creeks. Water transport is the only means available in nearly 10% of’ the total area. The navigable waterways vary between 8372 kilometer during the monsoon to 5200 kilometer during the dry season. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has been established by the government for maintenance of navigability of ports and channels while the state-owned BIWTC provide passenger and cargo services in inland waterways and coastal areas of the country. The entire coast along the Bay of Bengal is 710 kilometer long. There are two major ports in the country. Chittagong, the oldest port, has been an entry-port for at least 1000 years. The Mongla port in Khulna region serves the western part of Bangladesh.
Road transport in Bangladesh is a private sector affair operating predominantly in domestic routes. Rates are among the cheapest in the world. Express and nonstop services are available to principal towns from Gabtoli, Saidabad and Mohakhai bus terminals in Dhaka. The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) also maintains a countrywide network of bus services. Recently they have introduced Dhaka – Calcutta – Dhaka direct daily bus services via Benapole, Jessore.
Private car hire service is available in Dhaka and some other major cities. There are many Rent A Car service around the country mainly city area. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), a government organization, has a fleet of air-conditioned and non air-conditioned cars, microbuses and jeeps. Besides they offer transfer service for tourists between Dhaka airport and main city points or hotels.
A CASE STUDY OF BOGRA DISTRICT:
In preparing my report I faced difficult problems to collect authentic and complete data about tourism industry. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics has no data about tourism industry. I found data from Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and some association like HOA, TOAB, and ATAB etc. Only BPC’s data is little organized. But they record data only on foreigner tourists. They have record of local tourist data who occupied their establishments (hotel/motels) only. At that time introduced to Mr. Khandker Shahnur Sabbir, one of the partners of Backpackers Club.
Backpackers Club is an organization that is licensed to provide tourism related services. But the uniqueness of its service category is that this organization is working on a pattern to provide INFORMATION SERVICE based on tourism sector of Bangladesh and has a wide vision to make it such a large body to provide world tourism information. There is no other company in Bangladesh which provides information service in tourism industry.
To organize the districts individually as a tourism potential Backpackers Club took an initiative to list all the tourism service providers of every district individually. And Backpackers Club considered the tourism industry as very wide by considering the industries which are indirectly related to the Tourism Industry, (Community Centers is an example).
The main objectives of such a job are to list all the tourism related organizations of each district (city area for the first time), and complete the 64 districts; to make a communication standard among the organizations; to make them share their businesses with others (which plays the main frame of a TI); and finally to make the list available to all the tourists and TI nationwide or internationally.
FACILITIES OF BOGRA DISTRICT – 2008
(only good standard)
|Transport=26||Rent A Car||Tour Operator|
|Standard||Below Standard||With Restaurant||Conference hall||Thai/Chinese Cuisine||Deshi Restaurant||North Bengal Service||Nation wide Service|
|Tariff/Rate per person||Standard Tk(400-8750)
Below Standard Tk(70-300)
|Tk(100-450) per meal|
From above data we see the present situation of Bogra district of tourism and hospitality industry. Only 1 tour operator is there which is very poor for development of tourism. In my field survey I found that the occupancy rate in an average 50 percent which not good. Also the accommodation is not sufficient for such a greatest archeological site.
I have already discussed earlier about the resource of Bogra i.e. Paharpur, Mohasthangar (the oldest archeological site) etc. The occupancy rate (50%) is not quite good. Bangladesh government can earn huge from Bogra through international and local tourists every year. Both Govt. and private sector should take some initiatives for increase local and international tourists in Bogra.
- At first proper and attractive promotion for Bogra specially Mohasthangar.
- To establish an international standard archeological institute in Bogra for collecting foreign students, researchers etc. which will increase international tourists.
- Development of amusement/theme parks for tourists.
- Build more international hotel and restaurant.
SWOT ANALYSIS OF BANGLADESH TOURISM INDUSTRY
Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE) Matrix summarizes and evaluates the major strengths and weaknesses in the functional area of an Industry, and it also provides a basis for identifying and evaluating relationships among those areas. An External Factor (EFE) Matrix allows strategies to summarize and evaluate economic, social, cultural, demographic, environmental, political, governmental, legal, technological and competitive information about its opportunities and threats. So, SOWT analysis needs for identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a particular industry for knowledge and taking necessary action for the betterment of that Industry.
· People of Bangladesh are generally very hospitable and tourist friendly.
· Security is not that bad as often projected by electronic and print media.
· Domestic tourism is increasing steadily. Due to two-day holiday in the week, the trend of moving out for recreation has increased mainly among the middle class people of the society.
· Awareness about tourist attractions among the local community is increasing.
· Communication and transport system has been developed from north to south, east to west.
· The country possesses some unique archaeological sites, cultural heritage and eco-tourism products like the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, the world’s longest unbroken sea beach in Cox’s Bazar (120 km), the oldest archaeological site in the Southern Himalayas-Paharpur, Mohasthangarh and world’s largest terracotta temple – Kantaji Temple in Dinajpur, and spectacular monuments and mausoleums of language movement and liberation war of the country.
· No revenue budget for the promotion of tourism development in the country.
· Frequent changes of officials in the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation’s management and its line ministry.
· Absence of representation of civil society in the BPC’s Board of Directors.
· Absence of a regular policy direction. Due to absence of proper policy direction, BPC or the private sector cannot receive any fund or loan from any quarter.
· There are some flaws in the law of categorizing the country’s hotels and restaurants. Categorizing of the hotels and restaurants as Star or non-Star is not under the jurisdiction of the BPC. Nontechnical hands or institutions are involved in this process.
· Due to absence of a tourism law, the tour operators or tourism service providers can not be punished for any mishandling of tourists. Also owing to absence of law, tourism products cannot be protected or conserved, which is there in many countries of the world.
· The country often suffers from image crisis. The country continues to remain as an unknown destination to the tourist generating countries.
- It is easy to implement eco-tourism, riverine tourism, and spiritual tourism, as the country possesses enough opportunity to develop these types of tourism.
- Government has formulated favorable foreign investment policy to attract overseas investors in readymade garments, leather goods, natural gas and petroleum sector and liberal policy for joint venture investment in tourism sector.
- As there are hundreds of rivers crisscrossing Bangladesh, immense potentiality exists for development of riverine tourism in Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh is located strategically in South Asia.
· Unstable political situation created a bad image abroad, which should be taken as the biggest threat for development of tourism industry overseas.
· Continuous campaign against Bangladesh by certain quarters as a fundamentalist country is another obstacle.
· Unholy alliance between the trade union and political leaders, which disrupts labor discipline.
· Politicization of administration
· Trade Union Menace in the organization
· Rapid growth of population is another big problem.
Findings of the Study
FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
To understand and have a clear idea of tourist arrivals and earnings of a country, statistical analysis is a must. Contribution of tourism in socio-economic upliftment can also be comprehended by accurate statistical data. The tourism industry in Bangladesh has once again faced some difficulties in regard to visitor arrivals to the country. The compiled month-wise tourists arrival shows an upward and downward trend, comparing the previous year. Although there is a slight decline than the 2005 number of visitors arrivals, the country recorded 2,00,311 arrivals in 2006. Foreign currency earnings however from tourism registered again double digit growth of 23.07% (Table 6) over the year 2005, contributing taka 505 billion to the country’s exchequer reaffirming the resilient nature of tourism.
In 2006 arrivals from all the regions except south Asia recorded increasing trend. South Asia and Europe contribute (76%) while other region altogether contributed 24%. South Asia contributes 37.67% of the total arrivals to Bangladesh while other regions altogether contributed 62.33% (Table 11).
Seasonal tourist flow variation shows January, May, June, September, October and November to be the months with highest arrivals. The highest flow was recorded in July with a seasonal index of 153 or 53.39% above the monthly average. The month of April with the lowest arrival recorded an index of 73.54% (Table 7).
International airports remain continuously preferred port of entry into the country representing 75.67% arrivals; the balance 24.33% used the land ports. Last year 67.22% and 32.78% used the air and land ports respectively (Table 8).
Contrary to the decreases in international visitors’ arrival in the country, domestic tourism continued to grow. The domestic market took full advantage of the two-way weekend and other government holidays leading to higher occupancies at all private and public sector accommodations.
Table 1 show that world tourist arrivals & receipts are gradually increasing. Bangladesh earns 80 million US$ while top tourism earners USA earns 81.68 billion US$ (Table 2 & 60). According to SAARC countries, Bangladesh stands 6 out of 7 countries in both international arrivals and receipts (Table 4 & 5).
Occupancy rates of hotels and motels operated by Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation increased to 43.76% in 2006, up from 38.63% achieved in 2005. BPC also reported almost 14.14% more guest in 2006. Early estimates show almost 9,50,000 mostly Bangladeshi national visited Cox’s Bazar alone. Almost 92% of all the hotel guests were received by private enterprises. Moreover, the private sector stakeholders have invested millions of taka for the development of amusement/theme parks such as Foy’s Lake, Heritage Park, Fantasy Kingdom and Nandan Park for entertainment of both local and foreign visitors in the country.
For rapid development of the tourism sector, Government announced a National Tourism Policy 1992 and under this policy, a National Tourism Council has been formed. The socio-economic scenario of Bangladesh can easily be improved by capitalizing its enormous tourism potentials. Realizing the importance if this fact the government has declared tourism as ‘Thrust Sector’ in the Industrial Policy of 1999. With the compliance of the guide lines, set out in the policy, it is expected that a congenial atmosphere for investment in tourism sector will be created, where public and private sectors can actively participate in its promotion, earning of foreign exchange, creation of job opportunities as well as play a vital role on our economic growth.
The geographical position, natural beauties, biodiversity, history, culture and traditions, climate, hospitable people are the basic foundation of tourism development in Bangladesh which are in advantageous position for us. The causes of not developing tourism in Bangladesh are:
· Lack of proper planning for long run
· Lack of efficient tourism manpower
· Insufficient government and private sector involvement
· Security etc.
Now we need proper and long-term tourism master plan based on strong tourism policy by involvement of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to culture and practice tourism business in our attractive green country.
Role of Tourism on Bangladesh Economy
According to the IMF list of 2007, Bangladesh ranked as the 48th largest economy in the world. The economy has grown 6-7% over the past few years despite inefficient state-owned enterprises, delays in exploiting natural gas resources, insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. Half of GDP is generated through the service sector, nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. Garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas, mainly in the Middle East and East Asia, fuel economic growth. Although one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries, Bangladesh has made major strides to meet the food needs of its increasing population. The land is devoted mainly to rice and jute cultivation, although wheat production has increased in recent years; the country is largely self-sufficient in rice production.
SOME STATISTICS ON BANGLADESH ECONOMY:
GDP (PPP): $208.6 billion (2007 est.), GDP growth: 6.5% (2007 est.), GDP per capita: $1,400 (2007 est.), GDP by sector: Agriculture (19%), Industry (28.7%), Services (53.7%) (2007 est.), Inflation (CPI): 10.08% (2008 est.), Population (below poverty line): 41.3% (2007 est.), Labor force: 100 million (2006 est.), Labor force by occupation: Agriculture (65%), industry (25%), services (10%) (2005 est.). Main industries: Jute manufacturing, cotton textiles, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, sugar, light engineering, chemical, cement, fertilizer, food processing, iron and steel
Exports: $14.11 billion (2007 est.), Export goods: garments, jute and jute goods, leather, frozen fish and seafood. Main export partners: US 31.8%, Germany 10.9%, UK 7.9%, France 5.2%, Netherlands 5.2%, Italy 4.42% (2000)
Imports: $19.465 billion (2007), Import goods: machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, raw cotton, food, crude oil and petroleum products. Main import partners: India 10.5%, EU 9.5%, Japan 9.5%, Singapore 8.5