ORIGIN OF THE PROJECT AND THESIS WORK:
I am a student of MBA program. This report is made on the topic The Role of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in the development of Tourism Industry of Bangladesh. As a part of my study and completion of the MBA degree, Prof. Dr. Md. Afjal Hossain Supervisor, Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Faculty of Business Studies, University of Dhaka assigned me this project work. I am very much thankful to him for assigning me such type of project work.
This honesty statement entitled that I have prepared my thesis report on “The Role of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in the development of Tourism Industry of Bangladesh”. I have prepared this report as a part of my study and completion of the MBA degree. This report is totally based my understanding and Information collected on the BPC and tourism industry in general. During the report preparation, I have spontaneously performed my own duty to come to a solution of the case. In preparing the report, I neither have taken any undue help from others nor make up any fake data. I have thoroughly enjoyed the total process as it gives me an opportunity to deal with a practical situation of knowing the actual scenario of our tourism industry.
It is argued that tourism industries of Bangladesh are a necessary part of the rapidly Globalization economy. However, it is important to outline the steps necessary to establish this argument. This paper explores the issues surrounding harmonization of tourism sector between nations.
Tourism trends in human society are practices since the prehistoric periods. Tourism an ancient society developed due to curiosity of individuals to know new things, places and people. Cevat and Dallen opine that tourism is not only associated with aristocracy. Today even ordinary persons can afford to hang out some places for recreation purpose. With the passage of time, the tourism has become almost a part of our normal life. In the background of its growing popularity, tourism has become a mass phenomenon .people presently practice tourism for the purpose of recreation, business, study, cultural exchanges, promotion trade and commerce, exploration of markets for industrial and agricultural products, searching work, acquisition of knowledge, cultural exchanges, and availing of health service facilities hence many countries developed tourism sector as gainful industry. The high opportunities of developing tourism industry of Bangladesh are always a priority.
Due to lack of capital, proper management and skilled personnel, Bangladesh government did not able to utilize the excellent opportunities.
BACKGROUND OF THE REPORT:
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation is the authoritative sector of how particular types of transactions and other events should be reflected in tourism industry prepared by ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism.
OBJECTIVES OF THE REPORT:
The main objectives of this report are to analyze the tourism industry and to find the function of BPC in development of tourism industry.
The specific objectives are:
To develop our tourism industry and relevant laws and rules provide by the BPC for represent our tourism.000
- To analyze the tourism industry which elucidate current scenario of tourism in Bangladesh.
- To classify different categories tourist is coming to Bangladesh.
- To reveal the opportunities of tourism development in Bangladesh.
- To review the different sectors of the BPC performing their responsibilities in the developing of our tourism industry.
- To provide some recommendations based on my findings.
SCOPE OF THE REPORT:
Tourism Industry of Bangladesh is a broad area. Within the limited time of thesis, it is virtually impossible to cover all aspects of the BPC and Tourism Industry. Therefore, the scope of my report is limited only to the compliance of those newspapers, brochure, websites, magazine and the BPC report. In preparing the report, I review and analyze the information published in various journals, I visited tourism fair. I also visited the main office of the BPC, consulted with some officers, and got some information about the BPC and our tourism industry. Finally, I consult with my honorable teacher about all of this information and got his wise suggestion.
Any change in tourism policies in respect of providing information after this period is beyond the scope of my report.
This report has been prepared based on experience gathered through learning Information of the BPC and tourism industry. For preparing this report, I have also get information from website of tourism sector. I have presented my experience and finding by using different charts and tables, which is presented in the analysis part.
The details of the work plan are furnished below:
Data collection method & Data sources:
Relevant data for this report has been collected primarily by direct investigations of the BPC and tourism industry. The information and data for this report have been collected from secondary sources. The secondary sources of information are brochure, websites and different manuals.
Data processing & Data analysis and interpretation:
Data collected from secondary sources have been processed manually and by adopting qualitative approach in general and quantitative approach in some cases. Qualitative approach has been adopted for data analysis and interpretation taking the processed data as the base. Therefore, the report relies primarily on an analytical judgment and critical reasoning.
LIMITATIONS OF THE REPORT:
The scope of the study is only limited to information of the BPC and website. The report covers various role of the BPC in tourism industry. Following are the main limitations of the report-
- It was very difficult to collect the information from the BPC and various tourism sectors.
- Policy was not disclosing some data and information for obvious reasons.
- Because of the limitation of information, some assumptions were made.
- The time was insufficient to know all activities of the different tourism sector.
Bangladesh is located in the tropics in South Asia and has a total area of 147,570 sq. km, which is about three times the size of Denmark. It shares its borders with India on the west, north, and Myanmar (Burma) on the east. On the south, 66,400 kilometers of coastline merge into the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh is a part of the Bengal basin, which is one of the most seismically active zones of the world. However, no major earthquake has occurred in Bangladesh since 1950.1 topographically, the country is almost entirely a fertile alluvial plain formed by the two main rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra and their hundreds of tributaries. Hills rise above the plain only in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the far southeast and the Sylhet division in the northeast. The world’s largest littoral mangrove belt, The Sundarbans, covers an area of nearly 3600 sq km in the southwestern part of Bangladesh and another 2400 sq km in east India. About 10 % of Bangladesh is still forested. Half of the forest is in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a quarter in the Sundarbans, and the rest scattered in small pockets throughout the country. The country is divided in the following seven divisions: Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong, Khulna, Dhaka, Barisal and Rangpur Division, all named after their respective capitals. The capital city, Dhaka, with over 10 million citizens (2001) is located in the central part of the country.
HISTORY OF BANGLADESH:
The area that is now Bangladesh has a rich historical and cultural past, combining Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Mongol/Mughul, Arab, Persian, Turkic, and West European cultures. Residents of Bangladesh, about 98% of who are ethnic Bengali and speak Bangla, are called Bangladeshis. Urdu speaking, non-Bengali Muslims of Indian origin, and various tribal groups, mostly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, comprise the remainder. Most Bangladeshis (about 88%) are Muslims, but Hindus constitute a sizable (11%) minority. There also are a small number of Buddhists, Christians, and animists. English is spoken in urban areas and among the educated. The history of Bangladesh has been one of extremes, of turmoil and peace, prosperity and destitution. It has thrived under the glow of cultural splendor and suffered under the ravages of war. The earliest mention of Bangladesh is found in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata (the story of Great Battle-9th century B.C). Evidence also suggests that there was a strong Mongoloid presence as well. Soon after, in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. came the Aryans from Central Asia and the Dravidians from Western India. Then came the Guptas, Paals, Senas, who were Buddhist and Hindus. From the 13th century A.D., the flood of Muslim invaders and the tide of Islam up to l8th century swamped the Buddhist and Hindus. Sometimes there were independent rulers like the Hussain Shahi and Ilyas Shahi dynasties while at other times they ruled on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi. From 15th century the Europeans, namely, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 A.D. when the last Muslim ruler of Bengal was defeated at Palassey. After the end of the British rule In1947, the country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. Present Bangladesh became the Eastern Wing of the then Pakistan. However, the movement for autonomy for East Pakistan started within a couple of years because of linguistic and cultural difference and economic disparity between the two wings. The seeds of independence were sown through the Language Movement of 1952 to recognize Bangla as a state language. Ultimately then, the East Pakistan emerged as a sovereign and independent state of Bangladesh in 1971 after nine month-long the bloodiest war in modern history of Liberation (starting on 26 March 1971) under the leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On December 16, 1971, Pakistani forces surrendered, and Bangladesh-meaning “Bengal nation”–was born; the new country became a parliamentary democracy under a 1972 constitution.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE:
The Bengal region has a multifaceted folk heritage, enriched by its ancient animist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim roots. Weaving, pottery and terracotta sculpture are some of the earliest forms of artistic expression. The best-known literature of Bangladesh is the work of the great Bengali poets Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Islam. Folk theatre is common at the village level and usually takes place during harvest time or at Melas (village fairs). There are many folk dances, but classical dance is largely borrowed from Indian models and is frowned upon by the more severe religious leaders. Bangladesh’s Muslims and Hindus live in relative harmony. The Muslim majority has religious leaders, piers, whose status straddles the gap between that of a bishop and that of a sage. Hinduism in Bangladesh lacks the pomp and awe of the Indian version, but consequently Hindu ceremonies are rarely conducted in the depths of temples to which access is restricted. People here are very willing for you to watch and even participate. Buddhists today form only a tiny minority of the population. It is worth noting that the Bangladeshi pride in ancestry is balanced by the Islamic slant of the country’s intellectual life, which tends to deny the achievements of the preceding Hindu and Buddhist cultures. A typical Bangladeshi meal consists of beef (or sometimes mutton, chicken, fish or egg) and vegetables cooked in a hot spicy sauce with mustard oil, yellow watery lentils (dal) and plain rice. Fish is part of the staple diet; however, over-fishing has led to a scarcity of river fish and more sea fish are appearing on menus. Alcoholic drinks are not widely available; head for five-star hotels and ritzier restaurants when you want a tipple.
RELIGION OF BANGLADESH:
The four major religions in the country are Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The Muslims constitute about 88 percent of the population and the Hindus about 10 percent. The Constitution guarantees religious and cultural freedom to all citizens
GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH:
The country is officially known as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and has a Parliamentary form of Government. The President is the head of the state. The Prime Minister heads the Government. The country is divided into seven divisions (regions), namely; Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Sylhet, Khulna and Rangpur. There are 64 districts, 460 thanas (police station), and 85,650 villages under 7 divisions. Besides there are 38 thanas (Police station) that mostly fall in metropolitan cities or other urban areas.
LEGISLATURE OF BANGLADESH:
Bangladesh has a 330 seat Parliament called ‘Jatiya Sangsad’. Three hundred members are directly elected and the three hundred Members of the Parliament (MPs) elect the other thirty members reserved for women. Legislative power is exercised by the Parliament.
CLIMATE OF BANGLADESH:
Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate. There are four seasons in a year – winter (December – February), summer (March-May), Monsoon (June-September) and autumn (October-November). The temperature across the country ranges between 13.5°C and 26.5°C in winter months. Annual rainfall varies from 160 cm to 200 cm in the west, 200 cm to 400 cm in the southeast and 250 cm to 400 cm in the northeast.
FLORA AND FAUNA:
A major part of the coastline comprises a marshy jungle, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger. In 1997, this region was declared endangered. The Magpie Robin is the National Bird of Bangladesh and it is common and known as the Doyel or Doel (Bengali: দোয়েল). It is a widely used symbol in Bangladesh, appearing on currency notes and a landmark in the city of Dhaka is named as the Doyel Chatwar (meaning Doyel Square).The national flower of the country is water lily, which is known as Shapla. The national fruit is jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), which in Bengali is known as Kathal. In late 2010, the Bangladeshi government selected the Mango tree as the national tree.
EDUCATION OF BALGLADESH:
The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government also funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.
Primary (from grades 1 to 5), Secondary (from grades 6 to 10), Higher Secondary (from grades 11 to 12) and tertiary. The five years of lower secondary education concludes with a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination. Students who pass this examination proceed to two years of Higher Secondary or intermediate training, which culminate in a
Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Examination. Education is mainly offered in Bangla, but English is also commonly taught and used. A large number of Muslim families send their children to attend part-time courses or even to pursue full-time religious education, which is imparted in Bangla and Arabic in madrasahs.
Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education for All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.
Universities in Bangladesh are mainly categorized into three different types: Public university (government owned and subsidized), Private University (private sector owned universities), and International University (operated and funded by international organizations)
Bangladesh has some thirty public and forty-five private universities. NationalUniversity has the largest enrollment amongst them and University of Dhaka (estd.1921) is the oldest university of the country. Bangladeshi universities are accredited by and affiliated with the University Grants Commission (UGC), a commission created according to the Presidential Order (P.O. No 10 of 1973) of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
PLACES OF TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN BANGLADESH:
Whether this is one of your first trips to Bangladesh or not, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Bangladesh. From history to art to culture to the outdoors, Bangladesh attractions are plentiful. Comprehensive information on Bangladesh’s tourist attractions, historic monuments, sightseeing tours, outdoor activities, cultural activities, clubbing and great food and wine listed are below:
Dhaka the capital the capital of Bangladesh is Dhaka with its exciting history and rich culture, known the world over as the city of mosques and muslin; it has attracted travelers from far and nearer throughout in all the ages. It has a history dating back to earliest time. However, the exact date of its foundation is not known. However, according to recorded history it was founded in 1608 A.D. as the seat of the imperial Mughal Viceroy of Bengal. Dhaka as the capital of Bangladesh has grown into a busy city of about seven million people with an area of about 815 sq. km. Having a happy blending of old and new architectural trends, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is throbbing with activities in all spheres of life. It is the centre of industrial commercial, cultural, educational and political activities for Bangladesh. At Tongi, Tejgaon, Demra, Pagla, kanchpur, the industrial establishments turn – out daily necessities. Motijheel is the main commercial area of the city. Dhaka’s major waterfront Sadarghat is on the bank of the river Buriganga and is crowded with all kinds of river craft, batches, country boats, motor launches, paddle steamers, and anglers’ boats all bustling with activity. Colorful rickshaws (tricycle) on the city streets are common attractions for the visitors. Some of the outstanding tourist attractions of Dhaka are:
Mosque: A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word entered the English language most likely through French (mosquée), from Portuguese (mesquita), from Spanish, and from Berber (tamezgida), ultimately originating in Arabic: masjid. The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration. The word “mosque” in English refers to all types of buildings dedicated for Islamic worship, although there is a distinction in Arabic between the smaller masjid dedicated for the daily five prayers and the larger masjid jāmi where the daily five prayers and the Friday congregation sermons are held with a high volume of attendance. Seven domed Mosque (17th century), Rose Garden (Rajbari), Atia Mosque (Mugal Element), Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Star Mosque (18th century).
Hindu Temples: A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism. A characteristic of most temples is the presence of murtis (statues) of the Hindu deity to whom the temple is dedicated. They are usually dedicated to one primary deity, the presiding deity, and other deities associated with the main deity. However, some temples are dedicated to several deities, and others are dedicated to murtis in an iconic form. Many temples are in key geographical points, such as a hilltop, near waterfalls, caves and rivers; because some believe, the Purans mention, “the gods always play where groves are near rivers, mountains, and springs.”Dhakashwari Temple (11th Century), Ramakrishna Mission
Churches: The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as “church” means “assembly”. It appears in 2 versus of the canonical Gospel of Matthew, 24 verses of the Acts of the Apostles, 58 verses of the letters of Paul the Apostle (including therefore the earliest instances of its use in relation to a Christian body), 2 of the Letter to the Hebrews, 1 of the Epistle of James, 3 of the Third Epistle of John, and 19 of the Book of Revelation.
The four traditional “notes of the Christian Church” are unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. In the phenomenological sense, many associations call themselves Christian churches. The New Testament the term ἐκκλησία (church or assembly) is used for local communities and in a universal sense to mean all believers. Traditionally, only orthodox believers are considered part of the true Church, but convictions of what is orthodox vary. Armenian Church (1781). St. Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former St ThomasCathedralChurch (1677) at Tejgaon.
Lalbagh Fort: Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, built it in 1687 A.D. The fort was the scene of bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857) when 260 sepoys stationed here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh Fort are the tomb of Pari Bibi (Fairy woman), Lalbagh Mosque, audience hall and Hammam of Nawan Shaista Khan now housing a museum.
1857 Memorial (Bhahudar Shah Park): Bahadur Shah Park, located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a striking war memorial set amidst the splendor of nature. It was built in 1858 at the initiative of Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani, in the Sadarghat area, on the ruins of an old building, called Antaghar, a club house of the Armenians, then living in a large number in the neighborhood. It was called Victoria Park until 1947. After that, it was renamed after Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor.
In the late-nineteenth century, it was the centre of the Colonial city in European style with several civic and religious buildings and educational institutions around it. During the eighteenth century, the European started a club for them. They played, among other games, billiard, and hence the premise was called ‘Anta Gharer Maidan’. The English later demolished it and created a roundabout park facing the St Thomas church. The club was shifted elsewhere, which later became the famous Dhaka club. The park became a major node in the road network of old Dhaka. In the past, it had all important buildings and establishments around it, many of which are gone now. It is where the mutineers of the failed 1857 Revolt (‘Sipahi mutiny for freedom fight’) were publicly hanged. It was also the scene from where accession by Queen Victoria and India was announced amidst much funfair in 1858, and hence the original name of ‘Victoria Park’ bestowed. An obelisk to commemorate personnel was also erected there. After Partition, the historically more important monument, symbolizing this place, was erected on the Centenary of Sipahi Revolt, and the park was re-named ‘Bahadur ShahPark’.
In stone throw distance around the park; important institutional buildings such as court, Bank, DC’s office and Jagannath College are situated.
Ahsan Manzil Museum: On the bank of river Buriganga in Dhaka the pink majestic, Ahsan Manzil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an example of the nation’s rich cultural heritage. It was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka and a silent spectator to many events. Today’s renovated Ahsan Manzil is a monument of immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms with a huge dome atop which can be seen from miles around. It now has 23 galleries in 31 rooms displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
Curzon Hall: Curzon hall is part of the school of science of the University of Dhaka. With its significance in education during the post independence era of Bangladesh as well as afterwards, it has become an emblem of educational tradition of the country.
Curzon hall meant to be a town hall was named after Lord Curzon, the viceroy of India, who laid its foundation in 1904. A year later Bengal was partitioned and Dhaka or Dacca as it was known then became the capital of the newly created province of east Bengal and Assam. Following the annulment of partition in 1911, it was used as a premise of DhakaCollege, and after the establishment of the University of Dhaka in 1921, became part of the university’s science section and continues as such.
During the language movement, Curzon hall was the location of significant events. In 1948, Mohammad ail Jinnah declared Urdu to be the only state language of Pakistan. Students of Dhaka University opposed it and in Curzon hall, they declared their opposition to Jinnah is planned about state language policy.
Old High Court Building: The Old High Court Building in Dhaka is situated at Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, opposite the picturesque Curzon Hall, 13 and skipping the Ramna Green Dhaka. It was constructed in the beginning of 20th century following Renaissance architectural structure. It was built as the governor’s house of East Bengal and Assam government. After the construction of the building, the advisor of Indian government said that it was not suitable for governor’s residence. Then, it was used as general office and was given to Intermediate College. The High Court Building was built after the division of India in 1947.
It is now under the control of Supreme Court. Now it is divided into two parts, one part is being used for crime tribunal and the other part for low commission.
The old high court is situated at Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, opposite the picturesque Curzon Hall, 13 and skipping the Ramna Green Dhaka.
Originally built as the residence of the British Governor. It illustrates a happy blend of European and Mughal architecture.
Dhaka Zoo: (Bengali: ঢাকা চিড়িয়াখানা) is a Zoo located in the Mirpur section of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. The Zoo contains many native and non-native animals and wild life, and hosts about three million visitors each year.
Established in 1974, the 186-acre (75 ha) Dhaka Zoo is the largest zoo in Bangladesh, and is operated by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. The zoo attracts around 10,000 visitors every day with the number increasing during the weekends.
The yearly budget of Dhaka Zoo is Tk 37.5 million, out of which Tk 25 million is spent on feeding the animals.
The zoo is currently home to 2,150 animals from 191 species.
The zoo exhibits 58 species are mammals, including elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, waterbucks, otters, hyenas, deer, giraffes, impala, black bears, tapirs, hippos, lions, many species of monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons, and Bengal tigers.
The aviaries at the zoo house more than 1500 birds representing 91 species, including peacocks, rhea, African gray parrots, cassowary, owls, ostrich, emus, teals, finches, babblers, owls, vultures, and eagles. The two lakes at the zoo also host migratory water birds each winter.
Visitors can also see 13 species of reptiles including snakes and crocodiles, and 28 species of fish.
National Museum: originally established on 20 March 1913, albeit under another name, and formally inaugurated on 7 August 1913, was accorded the status of the national museum of Bangladesh on 17 November 1983. It is located Shah Bag, Dhaka. The museum is well organized and displays have been housed in several departments like department of ethnography and decorative art, department of history and classical art, department of natural history, and department of contemporary and world civilization. The museum also has a conservation laboratory.
Centrally located, the museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods.
Botanical Garden: The National Botanical Garden of Bangladesh, also referred to as Bangladesh National Herbarium, is the largest plant conservation center in Bangladesh, with an area of around 84 hectares (210 acres). It is located at Mirpur in Dhaka, beside the Dhaka Zoo. It is one of the greatest botanical gardens of Bangladesh and a tourist destination. It is an escape for lovely pairs and calm as well as a normal sort of a break for singles.
Baldha Garden in the Wari area of Dhaka is administratively part of the National Garden.
National Park: Situated at Rejendrapur, 40km. north of Dhaka city. This is a vast (1,600 acres), national recreational forest with facilities for picnic etc.
Central Shahid Minar: Symbol of Bangladesh nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language Movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths & bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at zero hour of midnight.
National Poet’s Graveyard: Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 26 the August 1978 and was buried here. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University.
Suhrawardy Uddyan (Garden): Popular Park. The oath for independence of Bangladesh was taken here on 7 March 1971. The place is famous for its lush verdure and gentle breezes. Mausoleum of National Leaders: Location at the south western corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan, it is the eternal resting place of three great national leaders, Shree – Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khawja Nazimmuddin.
Banga Bhaban: The Banga Bhaban (Bengali: বঙ্গ ভবন, lit. House of Bengal) is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of Bangladesh, the head of state of Bangladesh. Located in the capital Dhaka, the palace has been the official residence of the British Viceroy of India until 1912, when the capital was moved to New Delhi. From 1947 to 1971, it was the residence of the Governor of East Pakistan. Since 1971, it has been the official residence of the President of Bangladesh. Every Bangladesh President since Abu Sayeed Chowdhury has lived here.
During the reign of the sultanate of Bengal, on the site of Bangabhaban stood the establishment of Hazrat Shahjalal Dakhini, a Sufi saint of Dhaka. The saint and his followers were killed by the agents of the sultan and buried there. The place soon became famous as a mazhar (mausoleum) for the devotees of the saint. There is a building called Manuk House within the Bangabhaban compound. It is conjectured that it belonged to an Armenian zamindar named Manuk during the period of British India. Nawab Khwaja Abdul Ghani of Dhaka bought the place from Manuk and built a bungalow there, which he named as DilkushaGarden.
With the partition of Bengal in 1905, the government of East Bengal and Assam bought the real estate and constructed a palatial house to serve as temporary residence for the Viceroy of India and used for him until 1911. From 1911 to 1947, the palace was called the Governor House, and served as the temporary residence of the governor of Bengal. Following the birth of Pakistan and India in 1947, when East Bengal officially became part of Pakistan, the palace became the residence of the governor of East Pakistan. The building was severely damaged by a storm in 1961; substantial reconstruction was completed by 1964.
Baldha Garden: Baldha Garden is an enriched botanical garden which spans 3.15 acres (1.27 ha) of land located at Wari in the old part of the city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It has a collection of 672 species of plants. The Baldha Garden is now managed as a satellite unit of the National Botanical Garden by the Department of Forestry. Baldha Garden is one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in Bangladesh. It was established by Narenda Narayan Chawdhury. Currently located at Wari, in the Old part of Dhaka city, the traditional Baldah Garden is a satellite unit of the National Botanical Garden situated in Mirpur. The garden is enriched with rare plant species collected from different parts of the world.
This Botanical Garden was established in 1909 by a private individual Narenda Narayan Chawdhury, a poet, philanthropist, and naturalist. He was the property owner of the state of Baldah, and he established this garden on his own property. Chawdhury passionately collected rare species of plants from different parts of the world until his death in 1943. After his death, the further expansion of the garden came to a halt. This situation continued until 1962, when the Forestry department of the Government of East Pakistan took charge of managing the garden. After the creation of Bangladesh, the garden was handed over to the new government. The Department of Forestry of Bangladesh began to work for the improvement of the garden with renewed vigor. Most of its past glory has been restored, and in addition to that, two new green houses were made. In addition, the civil amenities inside the garden were modernized.
The collection of the garden is classified into seven categories – orchids, cacti, conservatory plants, aquatic plants, roses, rockery and wall plants, arboretum, and miscellaneous Flora. The garden has about 15, 0000 plants representing 672 species. Many of these are exotic and rare plants; perhaps the richest collection of exotic plants in the country is housed in the BaldahGarden. The flora of the garden represents collections from over 50 different countries. The garden has among its attractions the ‘century plant’ which is believed to flower only once in hundred years, and was seen in bloom a few years back. The Adansonia digitata tree, which adorns the garden, is historical. Central African aborigines used to seal their deeds in holes dug into the cavity of the tree in order to mummify the body long before the days of the Pharaohs. The Psyche unit of the garden houses several varieties of the aquatic plant Nymphea pubescens, the national flower of Bangladesh which is called ‘shapla’ in Bangla, maintained in a section of the garden known as the; Shapla House;. The rose garden in Cybele is famous throughout the subcontinent for its rich collection of roses. One of the two greenhouses has rich collections of orchid, aroids and conservatory plants. The Baldah Garden, although relatively small, is an exciting place for naturalists and tourists to visit.
Ramna Green: Ramna Park (Bangla: রমনা উদ্যান Rômna Uddan) is a large park and recreation area situated at the heart of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. This park is one of the most beautiful areas in Dhaka with lots of trees and a lake near its center.
The history of Ramna starts about 1610 AD during Mughal rule, when the city of Dhaka was founded by Subehdar Islam Khan under Emperor Jahangir. At that time, two beautiful residential areas were developed in the northern suburb of Dhaka city. New residential houses, gardens, mosques, tombs and temples were built in this area during that period. After the fall of the Mughal rule, Ramna gradually lost much of its glory. Ramna was then a barren area with bushes, abandoned or dilapidated buildings, tombs and old temples.
Ramna area began to regain its glory since 1825, when Mr. Dowes, a British collector of Dhaka initiated a series of steps for development of the city. Engaging convicts, he cleared up the bushes and demolished most tombs and monuments except the Ramna Kali Mandir. The old mosque and tomb that now stand by the western side of old High Court building were spared. The renovated area was given the name of Ramna Green and was fenced by a boundary for using it as a racecourse. In 1908, he began the work of a garden that took 20 years to take a shape.
The Nawabs of Dhaka developed the racecourse area as a beautiful garden and named a part of it as Shahbagh, the royal garden. The Nawabs also set up a zoo at Ramna. In 1851, the European civil servants established the Dhaka Club on the northern corner of the racecourse and after the Partition; a good number of beautiful residential houses were built at Minto road area for the High Court judges and top bureaucrats.
After creation of Pakistan in 1947, Ramna area continued to occupy an important place in the history of Dhaka city. A new road from Shahbagh to the EdenBuilding was constructed and the eastern side of the road was developed as the RamnaPark. The miniature zoo with a few animals and different kinds of birds were still there at the northeastern side of the present Supreme Court building. The zoo was later shifted to its present location at Mirpur.
Ramna Park was officially inaugurated in 1949 with an area of 88.50 acres (358,100 m2) of land with 71 species of plants. The large open spaces on the southwest facing the lake were used for holding National Fairs and Exhibitions. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II was accorded a rousing civic reception at the RamnaPark with display of local fireworks. A raised concrete platform was built for the Queen, the remnants of which can still be seen in the park close to the lake.
The present shape of Ramna Park was drawn up in 1952 by Public Works Department of Bangladesh (former C&B Department) and the lake was excavated and extended. Narrow pathways were built by phases. To water the rare variety of saplings, deep tube well and a bud-shape water tower were built on the northern side. The park now covers an area of 68.50 acres (277,200 m2) of which the lake takes 8.76 acres (35,500 m2). RamnaPark now boasts with 71 species of flowering plant, 36 species fruit bearing plant, 33 species medicinal plant and 41 species of forestry and 11 other species. Walkways inside park have been widened and five new gates built for entry from different sides. The Park features lot of beautiful and modern venues for relaxation.
National Assembly: Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban (Bengali: জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন Jatio Shôngshod Bhôbon) is the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, located in the capital Dhaka. It was created by architect Louis Kahn and is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world. It houses all parliamentary activities of Bangladesh.
There have been nine national elections in Bangladesh. The first and second Parliaments used the Old Shangshad Bhaban, which currently serves as the Prime Minister’s Office.
Construction of the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban began in 1961 by the Government of Pakistan as a permanent building for the federal legislature of both West and East Pakistan. However, it was the eighth (and last) session of the second parliament of Bangladesh that first used it on 15 February 1982 after its construction was completed on 28 January of the same year. The Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban has been in operation and has acted as the sole complex used as the National Assembly ever since.
Jatiyo Sangshad was designed by Louis Kahn. First, Muzharul Islam was given to design Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban by the government. However, Islam brought his teacher Louis Kahn into the project to do a significant work for future generation. However, Muzharul Islam assisted Kahn at the project. According to Robert McCarter, author of Louis I. Kahn, it “is one of the twentieth century’s greatest architectural monuments, and is without question Kahn’s magnum opus.”
Science Museum: Located at Agargaon, the Museum is a modern learning centre related to the latest scientific discoveries.
National Memorial: Located at Savar, 35 km. from Dhaka city. The memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossain, sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 war of liberation.
Sonargaon: About 29 km. from Dhaka. Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. A Folk Art and Crafts Museum has been established here. Other attractions in and around Dhaka include the institute of Arts and Crafts with its representative collection of folk art and paintings, handicraft shops, Aparajeya Bangla monument, picnic spots at Chandra and Salna, industrial estates of Tongi, Narayanganj Demra, Tejgaon: cruising by country boat in the nearby river or a visit to a village to see jute cultivation, weaving and pottery making. Last but not least travel by a horse driven cart or rickshaw along busy Dhaka streets is a rewarding experience.
Chittagong – Gateway to the Bay of Bengal:
With a picturesque hinterland of large hill forests and lakes. Chittagong is a good vacation spot. It is the second largest city of Bangladesh and a busy of Bangladesh and a busy international seaport. Its green hills and forests, broad sandy beaches and fine cool climate always attract holidaymakers. It combines the hump of a restless seaport with the pleasure of a charming hill town with its undulating topography. Chittagong is the country’s chief port and is the main site for the establishment of heavy, medium and light industries. Bangladesh’s only steel mill and oil refinery are also located here. Chittagong is connected with Dhaka by rail, road, air and water. It is also connected with Cox’s Bazar and Calcutta by Air. Following are given the interested places in Chittagong:
Sharine of Byazid Bostami: This holy shrine attracts a large number of visitors and pilgrims. At its base, there is a large tank with several hundred tortoises floating in the water.
World War II Cemetery: In this well-preserved cemetery at a quiet and picturesque place, lie buried over 700 soldiers from Commonwealth countries and Japan.
Foy’s Lake: Set amidst panoramic surroundings, this ideal sport for outings and picnics is thronged by thousands of visitors.
Ethnological Museum: A unique treasure house of variety of tribal culture and heritage of Bangladesh.
Court Building: Situated on the Fairy Hill, this building commands a magnificent bird’s eye view of Chittagong city particularly at night.
Patenga Beach: Sandy beach at the meeting place of the roaring sea and the river Karnaphuli.
Sitakund: About 40 km from Chittagong. This is famous for the Chandranath Hindu Temple and the Buddhist Temple. There is a hot water spring 5 km to the north of Sitakund. Other important places of interest include Shrine of Shah Amanat, Shahi Jame Mosque, Chandanpura Mosque, Portuguese Arsenal Port Area, Marine Academy, Biponi Bitan (New Market) and Government Circuit House built during British days.
Cox’s Bazar: the tourist capital 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. Having the world’s longest unbroken (120 km) beach sloping gently down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hills covered with deep green forests, Cox’s Bazar is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the world. The beach is good for bathing, sun bathing and swimming. The breath taking beauty of the sun setting behind the waves of the sea is captivating. Attractive local variety of cigars and handloom products of the Rakhyne tribal families are good buys. Their unique customs and costumes attract visitors. Located at a distance of 152 km. south of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar is connected by both air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong. Visits to the fascinating picnic spot at Himchair, Teknaf, southernmost tip of Bangladesh, Buddhist temple at Ramu and nearby islands of Sonadia, St. Martin and Moheskhali are memorable experience of a lifetime. Government has taken initiatives to develop Sonadia as an exclusive beach resort. TRAVEL BANGLADESH (TRAVELBD) is a Perfect tour operator, comfortable accommodation, catering, sightseeing and other facilities for the visitor. There is a nine whole golf course also for the guests.
Hill Tracts Districts:
world of panoramic beauty The hill Tracts Districts with its perennial forest, thrilling drives through hills and dales, emerald blue water of Kaptai lake, colorful tribal life and culture, attractive handicrafts and artisans beacons you to a world of panoramic beauty mother nature has so lavishly unfolded. Greater Hill Tracts is divided into three districts, namely Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban each one equally unique in its attractions
Rangamati: The Heart of the Lake District: From Chittagong a 77 km. road amidst green fields and winding hills will take you to Rangamati, the headquarters of Rangamati Hill District, which is a wonderful repository of scenic splendors with flora and fauna of varied descriptions. The township is located on the western bank of the Kaptai Lake. Rangamati is a favorite holiday resort because of its beautiful landscape, scenic beauty, lake, colorful tribes (Chakma, Marma etc.) its flora and fauna, tribal museum, hanging bridge, homespun textile products, ivory jewelers and the tribal men and women who fashion them. For tourists the attractions of Rangamati are numerous, tribal life, fishing, speedboat cruising, water skiing, hiking, bathing or merely enjoying nature as it is. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation provides suitable hotel and cottage accommodation, catering, speedboat and other facilities at Rangamati.
Kaptai: A pleasant and picturesque drive of 64 km. from Chittagong brings you to huge expanse of emerald and blue water ringed with tropical forest. It is the famous man made Kaptai lake (680 sq. km) formed by damming the Karnophuli river. Only 3 km. from Kaptai along Chittagong Road, lays the ancient Chit Morong Buddhist temple having beautiful Buddhist statues. Other places of interest in the Hill Tract districts include Chandraghone, Khagrachari and Bandarban all in picturesque surrounding.
Sylhet – Land Of Two Leaves and a Bud:
Next to the Hill Tracts, Sylhet is the widely hilly district in the country. Nestled in the picturesque Surma valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forest, it is a prime attraction for all tourists. Its terraced tea gardens, eye catching orange groves and pineapple plantations and hills covered with tropical forests form a beautiful landscape. The Sylhet valley has a good number of haors, which are big natural wetlands. During winter, these haors are vast stretches of green land, but in the rainy season, they turn into a turbulent sea. These haors provide sanctuary to the million of migratory birds who fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid the severe cold. Srimangal in Sylhet, known as the tea capital of Bangladesh, is the main tea centre of the area. For miles and miles around, the visitor can see the tea gardens spread like green carpet over the plain land or on the sloping hills. A visit to the tea plantation in Sylhet is a memorable experience Sylhet the tea granary of Bangladesh, not only has over 150 tea gardens but also proudly possesses the tree largest tea gardens in the world both in area and production. Sylhet is also known as the land of the famous Muslim saint Hazrat Shah Halal the great torchbearer of Islam to the region. The Shrine of this great saint is located at Sylhet town. Colorful Monipuri, Khasia and Garo tribes live in Sylhet. Monipuri tribal maidens are famous for their dance. Sylhet is also well known for its wide variety of exquisite handicrafts of cane and bamboo.
- Tea Plantation: Tea is the heart of life in the Sylhet division. It produces over 55 million kg of tea annually from more than 150 tea estates spread over 40,000 hectares. You can stroll in the tea estate, wander a short way into the bushes, talk to the tea-pluckers, and learn something about the processes that culminate into our morning tea.
- Madhabkunda Waterfall: The picturesque Madhab-Kunda waterfalls are the largest waterfall in the country. The surrounding hill forests, supporting some wildlife, are well worth the two hours northeast drive from Srimongal or 3 hours southeast drive from Sylhet. Here you may also see elephants being used to haul huge logs. There is a Parjatan Tourist spot nearby, with a restaurant, picnic area and toilet facilities.
- Haors – Sunamganj: Situated below the foothills of the Himalayas, the vast wetlands, locally known as ‘haors’, attract huge flocks of migratory birds in the winter months (October- March). The Sunamganj wetland area is unspoiled and remains largely unexplored by tourists. Cruising through the shallow and clear waters is a special treat for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike. Varieties of rails, raptors, ducks, sandpipers and others congregate in these haors of Sunamganj.
- Tribal Villages: There are 11 Khasia villages called “Punji” and several Monipuri villages called “Para” scattered among the tea plantations spreading in Srimongal and Sylhet areas. Khasia villages are usually on hilltops surrounded by betel nut trees, which is their cash crop. In the Monipuri “Para”, you can see the traditional weaving. You can also buy the traditional crafts as souvenirs.
- Holy Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal: It is situated in the North of Sylhet city, off the airport road. The tomb of Hazrat Shah Jalal, a Sufi saint during the 14th century, is located inside the shrine complex. It is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in the country and a fascinating place to visit. Hazrat Shah Jalal’s sword and robes are preserved within the large new mosque, but are not on display. The tomb is covered with rich brocade, and at night, the surrounding places are illuminated with candles.
- Holy Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran: About 8 km east of Sylhet, just off the highway to Jaintiapur, is the Shrine of Shah Paran in the tiny village of Shah Paran. A single- domed mosque attracts about 2000 pilgrims a day.
- Lawachhera National Park: Located about 8 km east of Srimongal, this 1250-hectare park is a beautiful, semi-evergreen tropical forest locally known as Shyamoli. It has the country’s largest population of critically endangered Hoolock gibbons – the subcontinents only ape species – as well as a large variety of mammals, birds and orchids. Lawachhera is home to 19 mammal species including the capped langur, the delightful slow loris, orange-bellied Himalayan squirrel and barking deer. Some 246 species of birds have been identified, which includes the blue-bearded bee-eater and the red-breasted trogon.
- Satchhari National Park: This 243-hectare park is situated in Hobiganj, 60 km southwest of Srimongol. Though less popular than Lawachhera, it has a higher diversity of plants and animals and far less human disturbance. It has seven streams – origin of the name “satchhari”, a population of hoolock gibbons, fishing cats, phayre’s langur, jungle fowl, pygmy woodpeckers and oriental pied hornbills.
Sundarbans – Home of the Royal Bengal Tiger & Mangrove Forest:
Located near Khulna about 320 Km. west of Dhaka. Here in the south, spread over an area of about 6000 sq. km. of deltaic swamps along the coastal belt of Khulna is the biggest mangrove forest, Sundarbans (beautiful forest)- the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Its dense rain forests are crises crossed by a network of rivers and creeks. One finds here tides flowing in two directions in the same creek and often tigers swimming across a river or huge crocodiles basking in the sun. Other wildlife in this region is cheetahs, spotted dears, moneys, pythons, wild bears and hyenas. The forest is accessible by river from Khulna and Mongla. There are rest houses for the visitors to stay and enjoy the unspoiled nature with all its charm and majesty. Spending sometimes inside the forest can be a rear treat for the lovers of nature.
Kuakata a rare scenic beauty spot on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh in the district of Patuakhali. It has a wide sandy beach from where one can get the unique opportunity of seeing both the sunrise and sun setting. It is located at a distance of 70 km, from the district headquarters of Patuakhali. Access to the area is difficult.
Mainamati – Seat of Lost Dynasties:
About eight km. to the west of Comilla town, which is situated 114 km southeast of Dhaka, lays a range of low hills known as Mainamati-Lalmai ridge, an extensive centre of Buddhist culture. On the slopes of these hills lie scattered a treasure of information about the early Buddhist cMlization (7th-12th Century A.D.). At Salban in the middle of the ridge, excavations laid bare a large Buddhist Vihara (monastery) and imposing central shrine. It has revealed valuable information about the rule of the Chandra and Deva dynasties, which flourished here from the 7th to 12th century. The whole range of hillocks run for about 18 km. and is studded with more than 50 sites. A site museum houses the archaeological finds, which include terra cotta plaques, bronze statues and casket, coins, jewelers, utensils, pottery and votive stoops embossed with Buddhist inscriptions. Museum is open Sunday-Friday and closed on Saturday. BangladeshAcademy for Rural Development (BARD) established nearly in 1959 is known for its pioneering role in co-operative movement.
Mahasthangarh – The Oldest Archaeological Site:
Located at a distance of 18 km north of Bogra town. Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh on the western bank of river Karatoa. The spectacular site is an imposing landmark in the area having a fortified long enclosure. Beyond the fortified area, other ancient ruins fan out within a semicircle of about 8 km radius. Several isolated mounds, the local names of which are GovindaBhitaTemple, Khodia Pathar Mound, Mankalir Kunda, Parasuramer Bedi, Jiyat Kunda etc. surround the fortified city. This 3rd century B.C. 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. A visit to the Mahasthangarh site museum will open up for one a wide variety of antiquities, ranging from terra-cotta objects to gold ornaments and coins recovered from the site. Also noteworthy are the shrine of Shah Sultan Bulki Mahisawary and Gokul Moth in the neighborhood of Mahasthangarh.
Rajshai – A Natural Silk Producing Centre:
Rajshahi has seen the most glorious periods of Bengal’s Pala dynasty. It is famous for pure silk, mangoes and lichis. Attractive silk products are cheaper. A visit to VarendraResearchMuseum at the heart of the city of rich archaeological finds would be most rewarding. There are also a number of ancient mosques, shrines and temples in and around Rajshahi. Connected with Dhaka by road, rail, river and air, Rajshahi is located on the bank of the PadmaRiver. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation offers comfortable accommodation and restaurant facilities at Rajshahi.
Natore Place of Dighpatiya Rajbari:
About 40km. from Rajshahi by road is Natore, an old seat of Maharajas with a beautiful palace, now serving as the Uttara Ganabhaban (President’s Official residence of the northern region). It was residence of the Dighapatiya Raj. It is situated amid well-kept ground surrounded by a fine moat. The buildings are modern. They include a well-equipped guesthouse, an imposing gateway and a fine garden decorated with statues of white marble.
Paharpur – The Largest Buddhist Seat of Learning:
Paharpur is a small village 5 km. west of Jamalganj in the greater Rajshahi district where the remains of the most important and the largest known monastery south of the Himalayas has been excavated. This 7th century archaeological find covers approximately an area of 27 acres of land. The entire establishment, occupying a quadrangular cout, measuring more than 900 ft. and from 12 ft. to 15th. In 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. It had taken its name from a high mound, which looked like pahar or hillock. A site museum built recently houses the representative collection of objects recovered from the area. The excavated findings have also been preserved at the VarendraResearchMuseum at Rajshahi. The antiquities of the museum include terra-cotta plaques, images of different good and goddesses, potteries, coin inscriptions, ornamental bricks and other minor clay objects. Interest tourists may avail “Palace & Archeological Tour Dhaka – Natore – Rajshahi- paharpur – Mahasthangarh – Bogra – Natore – Dhaka”.
Dinajpur – Old Ornamental Temple Town:
The northern most district of the country, offers a number of attractions to the visitors. The Ramsagar (great sea) lake with rest houses is a good picnic spot having facilities for fishing and rowing in a serene and quiet green countryside atmosphere. Kantanager temple, the most ornate among the late medieval temples of Bangladesh is situated near Dinajpur town. It was build by Maharaja Pran Nath in 1752 A.D. Every inch of the temple surface is beautifully embellished with exquisite terra-cotta plaques, representing flora, fauna, geometric motifs, mythological scenes and an astonishing array to contemporary social scenes and favorite pastimes. The Maharaja’s palace with relics of the past centuries and local museum are worth a visit.
Mymensingh – The Heart of Bengal‘s Folklore:
From the foot of the Garo Hills in the north down to the plains of Dhaka in the south lies greater Mymensingh. Along the northern frontier of the district there are many aboriginal tribes such as Garos, Hajongs and Kochis who are ethnically quiet distinct from the people around them. Mymensingh has earned a notable position in Bengali literature as the birthplace or rich folklores and folk songs. On the road from Dhaka to mymensing, there is a national park and game sanctuary at Madhupur about 160 km. from Dhaka. There are a number of reserve forests in the area with rest houses and picnic spots. World famous painter Zainul Abedin’s ArtGallery at Mymensingh carries the boyhood memories of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Other places of tourist interest include the following:
- Shilaidaha Kuthibari Carries memory of the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore who made frequent visits to this place and used to stay in connection with the administration of his jamindari and enriched Bengali literature through his writings during that time. It is located at a distance of about 20 km. from Kushita town.
- Shahjadpur kuthibari About 75 km. from Pabna town, it is also a historical place connected with the frequent visits of poet Rabindranath Tagore.
- Sagardari Birth place of modern Bengali poet Michael Madhusudhan Datta who first introduced sonnet in Bengali poetry. Located at a distance of about 90 km. from Jessore town.
- Meherpur Memorial Located at a distance of about 7 km. from the town of Meherpur. First provisional revolutionary Government of Bangladesh was declared here on 14 April during the liberation war in 1971. A monument has been built to commemorate this occasion.
Entertainment consists of any activity, which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered recreation.  Activities such as personal reading or practicing a musical instrument are considered hobbies.
Entertainment may also provide fun, enjoyment and laughter. The industry that provides entertainment is called the entertainment industry. There are many forms of entertainment for example: cinema, theatre, sports, games and social dance. Puppets, clowns, pantomimes and cartoons tend to appeal to children, though adults may also find them enjoyable.
Have several excellent air-conditioned cinema halls, which screen British. American, continental and Bangladeshi films. All district towns have their own cinemas. Check the daily morning newspapers for details of current attractions.
Theatre Bengali and Bengali:
Transitions of western plays are staged frequently. Popular theatre groups are Dhaka Theatre, Nagarik Nattya Sampraday and Theatre.
Cultural shows are quite frequently performed at several venues like Mohila Samity, Guide House and British Council Auditorium. Check with hotel receptions and the daily newspapers for details.
Fairs, festivals & Holidays:
Fairs and festivals have always played a significant role in the life of the citizens of this country. They derive from them a great amount of joy, entertainment and color for life. While most of the festivals have sprung from religious rituals, the fairs have their roots in the very heart of the people, irrespective of religion, caste or creed. The biggest Muslim festivals are Eidul Fitter. Next comes Eid ul Azha. Other widely celebrated Muslim festivals are Eid e Miladunabi, Shab – e – Barat, Ashura (10th day of Lunar Month, Muharram), and Jamt ul wide. Festivals like Durga Puja of the Hindus, Christmas of the Christians, and Buddha Purnima of the Buddhists are also celebrated with equal fervor. Among the nonreligious festivals Bengali New Year’s Day, Victory Day (16 December) and Independence Day (26 March) are celebrated nationwide. All these festivals are marked as public holidays. Other national holidays are 21 February (National Mourning Day in memory of the martyrs of Language movement) 1 May and 7 November (National Solidarity Day).
Classical forms of the sub continent predominate in Bangladeshi dance. The folk, tribal and Middle Eastern traits are also common. Among the tribal dances, particularly popular are Monipur and Santal.
The music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories classical, folk and modern. The classical music, both vocal and instrumental is rooted in the remote part of the sub continent. Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan are two names in classical instrument music who are internationally known. Folk song nurtured through the ages by village poets, rich in devotional mysticism and lovers is popular in Bangladesh. The best-known forms are Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi and Bhawaiya, Lalan, Hansan Raja, Abbasuddin and Abdul Alim are four great manes in folk song. Modern Bengali song pioneered by Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam blended western and Middle Eastern traits with traditional forms. Contemporary patterns have more inclinations to west. Pop song and band groups are also coming up mainly in Dhaka city
BANGLADESH PARJATAN CORPORATION:
The Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism of Bangladesh, tasked to promote the tourism industry of the country. It is the National Tourism Organization of the country.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BPC:
During Pakistan Period, there was a tourism department (later called Tourism Cell) having its office in West Pakistan. This tourism department was assigned with promotion, development and regulation of tourism sector in the undivided Pakistan. Another private sector corporation came into operation at the end of 1970. “After the independence, the socioeconomic and political climate prevailing in the country was not encouraging for the private sector to participate in economic activities of wider magnitude. Therefore, it became imperative for the government to come forward for promoting tourism in Bangladesh (Talukder, 1984)”. Soon after the independence of Bangladesh, the government of the newborn Bangladesh realized the importance of tourism in its economic and social life. Therefore, the government soon decided to recognize the tourism sector by combing both of the then tourism department and the private corporation into one organization and bringing it under the government responsibilities for better coordination, promotion, development and marketing activities of the sector. Consequently, the government established the National Tourism Organization (NTO) in the name ‘Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation’ under the president order No. 143 declared in November 27, 1972. Thus, the BPC started functioning in January 1973 with limited assets of former “Pakistan Tourism Corporation” and TK. 1.00 core capital sanctioned by the government. The corporation was entrusted mainly with dual responsibility of developing tourism infrastructure and promoting Bangladesh as a tourist destination. Other responsibilities of the Corporation were included regulation and operation of tourism activities in the country. Thus, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation came into being as the NTO in Bangladesh. “As such, the structure of the tourism sector in Bangladesh is predominantly managed by the public sector. The public sector has been playing the pioneering role in the development and promotion of tourism in the country. Government’s involvement in the tourism sector is channeled through this BPC. The BPC has been placed under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism. As a semiautonomous organization it enjoys wide power and authority including the right to acquire and dispose property; construct and run hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities; operate duty free shops (DFSs), transportation and car rental; establish and run training institutes; and invest its funds as it deems proper (Rahman, 2004).
The main objectives of establishing the BPC were to create an agency that would act on behalf of the government for the promotion and development of tourism in Bangladesh. The board objectives of the formation of the BPC were as follows (Consultative Committee of Public Enterprises, 1986):
- creation of favorable impression in the minds of foreigners about tourist attractions in Bangladesh through disseminating information by various media and thereby undertaking promotional activities through various publicity media;
- creation of physical facilities for domestic and foreign tourists by providing accommodation, catering, transportation and recreational facilities and thereby operation of the above facilities;
- Providing with training for development of skilled manpower for employment in the travel trade sector both at home and abroad; and
- Regulation of tourism activities in the country.
Though Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation was mainly established to develop the infrastructure, promote tourism and project the image of Bangladesh as a tourist destination for attracting tourists but it has now simply become a major provider of tourism services and controlling as well as regulating agency of the tourist installations rather than performing its actual functions and fulfilling its true objectives as a national tourism promotion agency. Of course, the organization has created some new tourist facilities (hotels, motels, etc.), renovated, and developed the existing facilities in different important places of historical importance (Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, 1994). Mainly Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (Rahman, 2004) has established tourist facilities at major tourist spots like Dhaka, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Kuakata, Mongla, Teknaf, Sylhet, Dinazpur, Rangpur, Bogra, etc. “Catering units including bar facilities, some of them air-conditioned, have also been set up in some of those places. Besides, a transport fleet including air-conditioned coaches, cars, and microbuses has been procured by the BPC for facilitating tourist movements (Talukder, 1984).” The five star sonargaon hotels in Dhaka is a public sector initiative. Government is also the main partner of Dhaka Sheraton Hotel (Rahman, 2004). Thus the government and its concerned agency, the BPC, are playing their role in the development of tourism infrastructures and facilities at least to some extent. The BPC is also engaged in expanding the area of operations; improve the quality of services, promoting the image of Bangladesh. Therefore, it is expected that the tourism sector in Bangladesh will gradually start taking the organized shape in the near future.
LOCATION OF THE BPC:
Current Address and Contact Information:
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (National Tourism Organization)
83-88, Mohakhali Commercial Area, Dhaka – 1212
OBJECTIVES OF NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION (NTO):
- To introduce Bangladesh globally as a top tourist destination and develop its tourism prospects and facilities.
- To establish tourism infrastructures in Bangladesh.
- To develop, expand and promote tourism business
- To create tourism awareness among the people.
- To establish institutes for instruction and training of potential tourism personnel.
- To publish tourism publications.
FUNCTIONS OF THE BPC:
- The corporation performs following functions:
- To promote and develop tourism.
- To establish tourism infrastructures in Bangladesh.
- To provide facilities to undertake measures and carry out all kinds of activities connected with tourism
- To acquire, establish, construct, arrange, provide and run hotels, restaurants, rest houses, picnic spots, camping sites, theatres, amusement parks and facilities for water skiing and entertainment.
- To establish institutes for instruction and training of potential tourism personnel.
- To bring out tourism publication.
MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING:
It has been recognized by the BPC that the Corporation is short of professional staff in its hotel operations division particularly and that the development of tourism in Bangladesh will require training of management cadres. These cadres would be in a position to carry forward vocational training programs for hotel and other sector workers once the basic needs have been met through a number of specially structured programs designed to remedy the current lack of trained workers for many work positions.
In order to establish and develop a professional training programmed within the tourism industry in Bangladesh, the BPC established the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI), which was jointly funded in 1978 by the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programmed (UNDP) with the International Labor Organization (ILO) as executing agency. The first phase of the project finished in 1983 and the second phase commenced in February 1986.
The Tourism Training Institute is operated under the auspices of the BPC in Mohakhali, Dhaka. In the same building is an operational of the BPC Hotel. The Institute and the hotel are housed in purpose-built facilities having, in addition to 20 bedrooms and usual hotel facilities, classroom areas, a training restaurant, training and demonstration kitchens, a front office reception area, a conference room, offices and administrative areas. It is intended during the second phase programmed to expand and up- grade HTTI to provide, inter alias, a langrage laboratory, a travel agency, a library/documentation unit, a demonstration laundry, a bakery/patisserie training unit with a retail outlet and a small video studio.
There will also be a mobile catering van for outside catering and a 26-seater coaster for the transport of trainees on study visits. The ILO, besides helping the Government to develop the hospitality industry, is also helping to develop human resources by providing in-depth training programs. The full-time courses, supervised by international experts and consultants, cover the following specializations:
- Hotel and Restaurant Kitchen Training
- Restaurant Service
- Front Office and Secretarial
- Bakery, Pastry and Confectionery
- Housekeeping Operations
- Tourist Guides
- Tour Operation and Travel Agencies.
There will also be part-time of day-release courses in various aspects of the industry, according to identified needs, such as:
- Hygiene and Sanitation for Food Handlers
- Short on-the-job Instructor Training Courses
- Communications and Social Skills
- Short courses in different aspects of catering for non-professionals.
Eventually, there will be developed a diploma course in Hotel and Catering Operations for management trainees. The current program is technical and vocational in nature and is designed to meet the immediate needs for tourism development. A serious difficulty is the low level of foreign language skills of ordinary people employees that make the inclusion of the proposed language laboratory a desirable priority. Other UNDP projects for tourism sector training will also be of assistance to Bangladesh in meeting its training needs. One project for training in tourism planning for South Asia has resulted in conclusions and recommendations that include:
- One-year scholarships, to be given for overseas training at university graduate level.
- The development of a series of three six-week regional training courses.
The courses would cover a variety of topics including statistical data collection, techniques and principles of detailed planning of resorts, and standards of control of
Environmental and social impact.
A programmer for regional cooperation in tourism training that is planned for 1988 would cover a number of conceptual matters as well as specialized training. Among the topics slated for attention are:
- Multi destination holiday packaging
- Development of market identity
- Creation of job titles for sector personnel to replace the currently used civil service names
- Improvement of staff attitudes and capability through encounter and transactional analysis courses
- Budgetary and financial management including hotel accounting
- Tour operator and ground handling courses
- Clearly all of the recommendations address topics that are important for Bangladesh, whose tourism development is closely allied with other countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
The master plan study team observed a number of weaknesses in current practices that should also be considered in the context of training programs. A good knowledge of foreign languages does not extend very far down the hotel hierarchy. Training programs of a forceful nature are required to remove inhibitions and give adequate practice in actually speaking foreign languages. No attention is given to sales promotion in restaurants when an extra sale might be made. In art, this aye is a consequence of the limited number of items actually available out of the menu list.
On the other hand, restaurant employees have been well trainee in accounting for the Sales they actually make. Because of the service charge system, there is a correlation between the two objectives. Similarly, restaurant employees in particular tend not to be as attentive as they might, again missing potential for extra sales as well as failing in their duties. It is notable that the two international hotels in Dhaka have been most successful in their employee training programs and their cooperation with the HTTI programs should be most helpful. The international hotels are also a potential source of well-trained middle and upper management personnel for new operations. The basic and long-term training needs are met in principle by the current and proposed programs. With will and commitment, they should be successful.
TOUR PROGRAMS TAKEN BY BANGLADESH PARJATAN CORPORATION:
The tours division of the BPC has developed programs for 12 tours designed to permit tourists to the most interesting parts of the country a range of attractive leaflets is provided. The tours are also built into offerings of Biman, the national airlines, which includes them on packages originating in certain European and other cities served by the airlines.
|Dhaka Stopover||DhakaCity Tour||2-days 1 night|
|-do-||DhakaCity tour with River Cruise||3-days-2night|
|Paddle-steamer tour||Dhaka-Khulna-Dhaka||4-days-3 night|
|Nature & tea Orientation Tour||Dhaka-Srimongal-Sylhet-Dhaka||5-days-4 night|
|Tribal culture Tour||Dhaka-Ctg-Rangamati- Dhaka||4-days-3-nights|
|Beach Holiday Tour||Dhaka-Ctg-Cox’s Bazar-Dhaka||5-days-4-nights|
|Nature & Wild Life Tour||Dhaka-Jessor-Mongla- undarban-|
PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN BANGLADESH
Tourists’ 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:
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
Bangladesh Tourist Handbook 10 Picture Postcards Bangladesh Tourist Map Dhaka Tourist Map
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).
PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS CONSTRAINTS REGARDING TOURISM INDUSTRY:
Infrastructure development and the resources required for that purpose are major problems standing in the way of tourism development. Planned development of the tourist product is partly dependent on the socio-economic conditions of the country, and this is problem as well. Marketing of Bangladesh tourism abroad faces constraints created by inadequate funds and lack of knowledge. The Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Aid Group have taken seriously the idea that Bangladesh is the test case for development. In the late 1980s, it was possible to say, in the somewhat patronizing tone sometimes adopted by representatives of donor organizations, that Bangladesh had generally been a “good performer.” Even in straitened times for the industrialized countries, Bangladesh remained a favored country for substantial commitments of new aid resources from a strikingly broad range of donors. The total estimated disbursement for FY 1988 was estimated at US$1.7 billion, an impressive total but just US$16 per capita. Half of that total was for food aid and other commodities of limited significance for economic growth. Even with the greatest imaginable efficiency in planning and administration, resource-poor and overpopulated Bangladesh cannot achieve significant economic improvements based on that level of assistance. Problems in brief
Despite occasional meetings and adoption of plans of action, not much real progress is noticed yet in promoting tourism in Bangladesh. The following reasons could be considered as impediments to development of tourism in the Bangladesh:
- Lack of transport links (air, rail, road and sea transport connecting major tourist destinations).
- Lack of sincerity and political will to promote Bangladesh as a common tourism destination: This emanates due to competition between the countries for tourists, given that all of the countries offer somewhat similar tourist products and compete in the same markets in the world.
- There has been a lack of funds and technical expertise. The little seed money that the Bangladesh Tourism Fund has been established with can pump prime the initial take-off, with publication of promotional materials and familiarization tours.
- Absence of effective coordination: This stands in the way of effective coordination among the relevant departments, agencies and ministries in Bangladesh.
- Complicated visa and border formalities are the most crucial factor that stands in the way particularly of intra-regional tourism. Though discussions have taken place, not much easing out in this area is yet in place.
- Government tax on hotel accommodation and food facility in Bangladesh is also not adequate. An ADB report points out that “Hotel rates in Dhaka are high compared to neighboring countries, reflecting the high taxation imposed on hotels in Bangladesh.”
- Lack of government policy is also a problem for tourism industry. This indicates that our tourism is in a problem of proper guideline.
- Corruption: Corruption is one of the major problems regarding tourism industry in Bangladesh. For that, some foreign tourist fell into problem in their smooth and continue journey in Bangladesh.
INTRODUCING BANGLADESH TOURISM BOARD (BTB):
UNWTO is proud to support the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh’s decision to form the ‘Bangladesh Tourism Board’ (BTB) as the acting ‘National Tourism Organization’ (NTO) of Bangladesh. The Board will play the leading role of promoting and marketing Bangladesh Tourism domestically and internationally. BTB will also be engaged in formulating tourism plans and policies for the development of tourism, along with attracting foreign investment in the tourism sector. Mr. Alim Uddin Ahmed will be taking on the challenge of the BTB’s first ever CEO.
The formation of the BTB is yet another positive step for the Bangladesh tourism industry in 2011, after launching the campaign, “Bangladesh Tourism Year 2011” earlier this year. Through such positive actions and increased awareness of the potential of tourism within the country, the Bangladesh tourism industry is set for a promising future.
The newly formed Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) shaped to promote tourism in the country appears to be another Parjatan Corporation as the government has decided to appoint bureaucrats to the top 30 posts of the board.
BTB recently designed an organ gram wherein top officials will be appointed from the cadre service that might hamper, experts apphended, the prospective sector’s growth in the trap of red tape.
Such type of board is supposed to be a statutory body and operated by professionals for the wellbeing of the sector, said the experts.
According to the Tourism Board Act, a government officer or a tourism expert will be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). However, the government has selected the CEO from among government officers, sidestepping professionals, sources said.
Sources in the BTB said 154 posts have been created in the organ gram where 30 top posts will be filled with government administrators. At present, a deputy secretary is working as the CEO of the tourism board.
A top BTB official, recently appointed to the board, told the FE: “Only a tourism expert is eligible for being on the board as an employee. Otherwise the board wouldn’t be effective; rather it would be a burden for the government like the Parjatan Corporation.”
On September 13, 2010, the government formed BTB to boost the tourism sector. Later, the government appointed 17 people as members of the board. Of them, 12 were bureaucrats.
There are also representations from Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB), Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) and Tourism Resort Industries of Bangladesh and 2 resource persons on tourism. However, the majority are from government administrative officers.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) took up some activities for tourism development after its inception in 1972. The BPC Ordinance gave mandate to promote and develop tourism, build country’s image abroad, acquire and establish tourism infrastructure, organize safari tourism, set up travel agencies, train up human resources and regulate the country’s tourism industry. However, BPC could not do anything up to the expectation.
BPC’s failure induced both private and government quarters to raise voice for doing something in an alternative way. That is why the government made the Tourism Act 2010 to establish BTB to meet the demand of the industry people.
Sources said according to the proposed organ gram, there are three directors, seven deputy directors and 19 assistant directors on the board and deputy secretaries, senior assistant secretaries and assistant secretaries will hold those posts respectively.
A tourism analyst and Dhaka University Tourism and Hospitality Management teacher Mohammad Badruzzaman Bhuiyan said the board was formed to regulate and oversee the entire tourism industry though its bureaucrat-based set-up would hamper its operation.
He said, “Despite its bureaucratic set-up, I want to be optimistic as there are lots of opportunities of expanding the tourism industry in the country.”
A former official of Parjatan Corporation told the FE: “According to the Tourism Act 2010, BTB was supposed to be operated by professionals. But now it seems that the board would be another branch of Parjatan Corporation and a dumping ground of bureaucrats.”
“No one wants this type of organization. Another Parjatan Corporation wouldn’t be able to bring anything good to the tourism sector,” he added.
BTB started its operation from the Tourism Ministry secretariat with only 10 employees. Later, it started its full-fledged function at its new office at Goshen in the city from March this year.
TOURISM VISION 2020:
One million tourists expected in 2020 BPC plans Tourism Vision 2020.
The Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has drafted a detailed plan named *Tourism Vision 2020* to enable the tourism industry to earn 4 to 5 per cent of the annual GDP by 2020.The corporation has estimated that some 0.9 million foreign tourists will visit Bangladesh in 2020, but the World Tourism Organization estimated that the figure would be 0.5 million. The Parjatan Corporation expects that domestic tourism, along with international tourism, will increase due to the improvement of infrastructure, especially highways and hotels, and the growing trend in local people to go on pleasure tours.
The outgoing chairperson of the Parjatan Corporation, Dr M Mahbubur Rahman, told the present contribution of tourism industry to the annual GDP is less than one percent. He was talking he was appointed information secretary to the government of Bangladesh. He said the Tourism Vision 2020 would be a complete guideline for the tourism industry, including the government and private investors.
The Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation conducted a study on the present condition of the tourism industry and formulated Tourist Vision 2020, which is based on the study report.
We have taken into account the tourism strategies of India, Thailand and New Zealand, interviewed arriving and departing tourists, tour operators, tourism professionals, travel writers and university teachers of relevant disciplines, said the chairperson. Dr Mahbubur told that before this there was no clear vision for the promotion of tourism in Bangladesh, so there was a yawning lack of proper plans, programs and strategies. In 2003, the total number of foreigners who visited Bangladesh was 2.46 lakh and foreign exchange earned from them amounted to Tk 3.31 billion, and in 2004, the total number of foreign visitors increased to nearly our lakh.
The major markets for the tourism industry of Bangladesh are India, Pakistan, Japan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Korea, China and Germany. People of Europe and South Asia together accounted for 69.61 per cent of the foreigners who toured Bangladesh.
According to Tourist Vision 2020, the corporation has taken up some plans and programmers like development of tourism products, marketing, promotion and public relations and reformation of the Parjatan Corporation. The study said that for maintenance of cultural heritage and archaeological sites like: Paharpur, Mahasthangarh, Mainamati, Bagerhat, Shat Gambuz osque, Buddhist Viharas and monasteries, historic buildings and monuments proper excavation, preservation and conservation is necessary. Eco-tourism destinations like the Sundarbans, Teknaf peninsula, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Tanguar Haor and Sunamganj need proper management and protection against illegal encroachers. To do this it is essential for the corporation to coordinate its activities with the Ministry of Forests. The study suggested that Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata beach, offshore islands like Sonadia and St Martin’s Island should be developed as special tourist areas with proper infrastructure and entertainment facilities, including water sports and casinos. Riverine tourism, rural tourism, education and health tourism should be encouraged, said the study. The Parjatan Corporation will make some short-term and long-term marketing plans and will target some countries as potential markets. To achieve these goals, full display ads, direct response ads, posters, brochures, videos, internet, power point presentation and other promotional activities, like packages with free airline tickets, hotel rooms and tie-in sales promotion, are necessary. The Parjatan Corporation should be transformed into an effective regulatory body, to do which it should be given considerable freedom to deal with ministries, government departments and with the private sector. All the attractive archaeological sites and islands with tourism potential should be put under the jurisdiction of the corporation, and a strong marketing division should be established, suggested the study.
SWOT Analysis of the Bangladesh Tourism Sector
What is the current level of patronage, and how does this compare with past trends?
Tourists in Bangladesh are inbound tourists, Bangladeshi middle and high class or expats. There is a lack of knowledge about demand in the Bangladeshi tourism business, particular regarding the Bangladeshi middle and high class and the expatriated community. Inbound tourism registration exist for the period 1996-2005. Average number of inbound tourists in the period was 203.015 tourists. The lowest number of inbound tourists was 165.887 tourists recorded in 1996, the highest was 271.270 tourists in 2004.
- What products are accentually and potentially available?
Due to historical isolation Bangladeshi culture and history is distinct from many countries. Bangladesh offers a variety of natural and cultural tourist destinations, some on the UNESCO Heritage List. The national transport, whether it is by air, land or water, is cheap although the existing slow transportation by road, rail and water can be an adventure with the right positive attitude.
A variety of tourist accommodation facilities are offered in rural and urban Bangladesh. Most investment has been done in the business related tourism and the metropolitan cities. Bangladesh is concerned with safeguarding a heritage damaged by increased salinity and climate change. Nevertheless sustainable commercial use of these resources is often low, which affects the standard for preservation, development and level of international appeal.
Bangladesh is a new and rarely visited inbound tourist destination, which can attract an adventure searching tourist market. The world image of Bangladesh can be inspired by several new sustainable tourist attractions to increase the understanding of the country’s history and developing challenges. The interest in the effects of global warming can affect the inbound travel market in Bangladesh, as the country is one of the 10 countries most vulnerable to a rise in sea level.
The tourism potential in Bangladesh can be developed through implementation of multilateral and interregional projects or co-operation with foreign travel companies.
- Who are the customers, and how are they segmented?
Bangladesh attracts inbound tourists from many countries; several pull-factors are expected and the tourist activity is spread throughout the year. South Asia and Europe are the largest inbound regions and India, UK and USA are the largest inbound countries. Local travel market is part of the growing urban population, which lives similarly to their Western counterparts. 12 million passport holders and a decrease in annual working days since 2005 are estimated to have a positive effect on the local travel market.
Expatriated Bangladeshis represent a word of mouth access to several potential national target markets. Moving back to their native country some of them also represent a valuable skilled workforce in the tourism sector. The urban expatriated community in Bangladesh represents a variety of nationalities. The average years of stay are between 2-5 years.
- What are the activities and behavior of the customers?
In terms of existing tourist products, both inbound and home market, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong and Khulna Division are the main tourist divisions. Sundarbans, Cox’ Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracks are some of the most popular tourist destinations.
- To what extent are costumers satisfied with the available products?
Several travel-experienced expats argue that the best experiences in Bangladesh are to be found outside Dhaka.
- What are the available financial and human resources?
The tourism industry has low construction, running and salary expenses. Labor force is reliable and abundant. English is commonly used by the tourism industry. The national aviation industry are expanding, as the Bangladeshi aviation industry followed the globally growth rate in 2007.
- What products are available?
Several factors, e.g. amount of garbage and the condition of several attractions, indicate that the existing tourism business is not sustainable. The accessibility to tourist destinations and accommodations is negatively affected by non-availability of adequate infrastructure, including domestic and international transportation. Existing beach life, Bangladeshi style, includes mud flats destinations loathed during high season. This cannot be sold as a typical western mass tourism destination.
The existing low inbound tourism demand indicates that fundamental product and promotion improvement is required. Tourism products should relate to the fact that Bangladesh is a modern Muslim society and a densely populated developing country, which has been historically isolated. Sustainable tourism product is one such solution. Tourists, especially inbound tourists, need a guide or high level of knowledge to travel safely and responsibly (culture and nature awareness) in Bangladesh.
- To what extent are costumers satisfied with the available products?
Several tourist products do not live up to a western concept of quality and service. Travelling time and safety are relevant obstacles to the local expat target market. Social insecurity: Local people do not have experience with tourists, so visitors sometime feel uneasy in some places. Several expats, who have no experience with urban Bangladesh, base their perception of rural Bangladesh on their impressions of the capital city.
- What are the available financial and human resources?
The Bangladeshi level of investments in travel & tourism is not exceptional, compared with regional and worldwide annual investment. The tourism industry is vulnerable due to a short high season and a large local market share. There is a lack of educated staff. The tourism industry is still quite young in Bangladesh, and its development has been predominantly left to the local market forces. The tourism development is largely uncontrolled as no marketing or developing policy exists, in spite of the fact that the Bangladeshi government and private tourist sector are represented by several organizations (Parjatan and TOAB).
There is a lack of knowledge about the demand, supply and competitors in the Bangladeshi tourism business. There is a low level of co-operation and innovation in the tourism sector. Tourism industry lacks marketing professionalism, which is severely crippling the industry’s inbound tourism growth. In the home market, every company is generally on their own when they want to promote the destination. It is expensive and ineffective for local operators to reach the worldwide market at the current time. The inbound tourism marketing is primarily performed by few foreign tour operators. This fact indicates that the Bangladeshi tour operators are losing income to their foreign competitors.
Bangladesh is a democratic Muslim state more interested in national development challenges than in the conflicts between the ‘Western’ and ‘Muslim’ world. The country embraces liberal democracy, has a generally homogeneous society and one dominant religion. The interim government pro-vides travelers with a form of relative stability while fighting corruption and bureaucratic procedures.
Despite some unfathomable hindrances, national economy is improving and the country is showing positive development. The seasonal weather is relatively stable; especially the cold season is comfortable for travelling. The population speaks Bangla and English – the latter by the well-educated urban people. Strong linguistic, cultural and historical connections exist to England, Pakistan and India.
The number of tourists in Bangladesh is estimated to increase due to generally growing local, regional and world tourism travel activities. Responsible tourism is a growing world market niche.
Inbound travel pattern to nearby tourist countries correspond to the best travel season in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a strategic stopover position in the region to the largest inbound tourist destination in the region, India, as well as two prominent world ecotourism destinations, Nepal and Bhutan.
Infrastructural development is required; especially the state of the roads and rails is a significant obstacle for the tourism sector. Technological development is also required.
The climatic changes throughout the year (and in the future) have considerable implications for travelling in Bangladesh since the country occasionally experiences harsh storms, floods and earthquakes. The country also has a worldwide image of poor land with numerous natural catastrophes and corruption.
The national tourism sector is negatively affected by the lack of social and political commitment. The preservation of natural and historical attractions is just one of the challenges that the Bangladeshi society has to face.
In my short span of thesis program, I had gained some knowledge about tourism industry of Bangladesh. I had discovered few things from the analysis. In light of that, I would like to provide the following recommendations:
There are so many problems regarding tourism in Bangladesh. The customers of tourism market are price sensitive and want security in tourist place. To expand the market it is necessary to set competitive price.
- Develop the management education on tourism marketing and prepare marketing or sales people to sell the product properly to the right place in local and global perspectives as well.
- Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation should create pressure on government to implement her policy more strictly regarding the quality of service. As a result private service provider will be able to face competition on an even ground.
- To deliver information to the foreign tourist through online or website and information technology is necessary to research about new tourist spot.
- Training and other refresher courses should be conducted at regular intervals to update the personnel with efficient.
- BPC should formulate her strategy in such to way by which she can serve the users more effectively. BPC can easily utilize the various distribution channels.
- Private sector in this field should be encouraged by the BPC and as well as Government officials.
- Infrastructure should be developed.
Bangladesh is one of the third world countries having scarcity of his finance but they can increase their GDP through by giving stress to the tourism industry. From overall point of view, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation is an only one-government tourism service provider firm in Bangladesh, which practices modern marketing concept. However, in some sector they are lagging behind. There have many opportunities to earn foreign and local revenue from this sector but this sector is totally ignored. If BPC follow these recommendations, in the end, BPC will become revenue-generating organization. Bangladesh has many potential tourist spots but it should do find out the exposure. Otherwise, she cannot cash from this potential sector. In addition, private sector should encourage by the government to work together for the sake of the development of tourism industry in Bangladesh.