By Lt Col Md Shahadat Hossain (Retd)
Tourism, in Bangladesh though could not yet flourished as one of the largest industries which other wise have happened in many countries worldwide, however, due to many positive factors the potentiality of tourism in Bangladesh would be increased in many folds in coming years. Bangladesh, like many other countries, despite having limitations is trying best to improve its tourism industry. Last year the country passed a law by the parliament under the title ‘Bangladesh Parjatan Board Act-2010’ and the said board has already started functioning to promote the tourism in Bangladesh. Well, the country needs to ensure many related matters to improve the situation of tourism to attract foreign tourists but the most important factor related to this is the proper promotion of tourism. There is a great need to expose the green natural beauty, historical & cultural attractions of Bangladesh to out side world and the best way to expose these attractions to local and foreign potential visitors is to organize tourism trade fair. Well, different organizations related to tourism have increased organizing such tourism fairs in recent years for which more and more tourists, both locals and foreigners, have increased their visits to different tourist attractions of Bangladesh. The aim of this write up is to inform the readers about one mega event named as “Asian Tourism Fair 2011, in short ATF Dhaka, which has been planned to promote the tourism between Bangladesh and Asian countries.
The number of visitors at different tourist spots almost doubled during last Eid festival compared to previous year, despite inadequate accommodation, lack of entertainment facilities and other limitations. A large number of people have celebrated Eid at different domestic tourist spots like Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Kuakata and Sylhet which was reported by different tour operators, reported by different news papers. Hotel owners at the world’s longest beach also expressed that the number of people touring Cox’s Bazar during Eid holidays have been rising for past couple of years. Bangladeshi people have also increased their out bound tourism in recent years. It was estimated that in last year alone, Malaysia almost had about 90,000 tourists from Bangladesh while Thailand received about 70000 or more. Nepal and Singapore have also received about 50000 or plus Bangladeshi tourists. About 2000 plus Bangladeshis visit India as tourists every day. Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, China also receiving substantial number of tourists. All these information are known from different data related to tourism. In the past there was no direct air link with China but now there are two direct air links between Dhaka and China (Kunming and Guangzhou or Canton). So, every day more and more people are visiting China to explore the opportunities related to trade, tourism, culture, education, sports etc. The visits by Chinese tourists to Bangladesh have also increased in recent years. It is also widely known that in the recent years Chinese people have also increased their out bound tourism in many folds due to their change of individual as well as collective financial capabilities. So, there are huge potentialities to attract more and more Chinese out bound tourists to visit Bangladesh.
Government has declared 2011 as tourism year. Taking this opportunity, Parjatan Bichitra, a known monthly tourism magazine, which had been organizing “Dhaka Tourism Fair” for last four years, has planned to organize the fair at a higher grade by naming the fair as “Asian Tourism Fair 2011 (ATF Dhaka) which is scheduled to be held on 29-30 September and 1st October 2011. The aim is to expose tourist attractions of Bangladesh, create tourism awareness to people, promote different local and foreign tour operators, and establish links and relationship between different local and foreign tour operators and also to attract people to tour. This “ATF-Dhaka” would be organized by Parjatan Bichitra in collaboration with Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB, the National Tourism Organization) at Bangabandhu NOVO Theatre, Dhaka with the support of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Honorable Minister Mr. Ghulam Muhammed Quader M.P, Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the Chief Advisor of ATF-Dhaka 2011. Editor of The Parjatan Bichitra Mr. Mohiuddin Helal is the Chief Coordinator of this ATF Dhaka while Lt Col Md Shahadat Hossain (Retd), a freelance promoter of Bangladesh in the field of tourism, trade, education, culture and sports, is the consultant and coordinator.
Asian Tourism Fair 2011 (ATF Dhaka) definitely would contribute significantly for the promotion of tourism in Bangladesh in particular and between countries of Asia in general. As such, the organizers would expect participation of both inbound and outbound tour operators, travel agents, airlines, hotel & resorts, hospitals, educational institutions, transportation service providers, buyers, journalists, ministers & govt. high officials, association heads and cultural troupes from different countries. According to the organizers, such mega event involving participating countries from Asia would be first of its kind in Bangladesh in the field of tourism. Arrangements are being made to offer 172 stalls in the biggest air conditioning exhibition venue in the country. The organizers are expecting around 50 foreign exhibitors from different countries, 50,000 visitors from Bangladesh and abroad. The readers may know more about this Asian Tourism Fair 2011, ATF-Dhaka, from below web links:
(The writer is the Consultant & Coordinator of Asian Tourism Fair 2011, ATF-Dhaka and can be reached to