Bangladesh is set to officially celebrate its capital Dhaka’s achievement as “OIC City of Tourism 2019” from today, aiming at showcasing rich Muslim heritage of the 400-year old city before the global community, especially Muslim tourists.
Dhaka was chosen the “City of Tourism for 2019” by tourism ministers of OIC member states at the closing session of the 10th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) that was held here last year.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the two-day official celebration at Hotel InterContinental this morning, in presence of representatives from more than 30 OIC member states, including OIC Assistant Secretary General Musa Kulaklikaya.
The Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) will arrange city tours for OIC member state representatives in the afternoon. The OIC delegation will also visit the nearly-500-year old Panam City in Narayanganj tomorrow.
BTB -- under Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry -- will arrange a concert, laser show and fireworks at Hatirjheel tomorrow night, as part of its celebration programme.
“We will showcase Dhaka’s rich cultural and Muslim heritage, especially the archaeology, in front of OIC member state representatives, to encourage them to promote our tourism in their respective countries,” Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary M Mohibul Haque told the news agency.
He hoped that the OIC recognition of Dhaka as a habitat of Muslim heritage will create huge interest about Bangladesh among the Muslim and other tourists across the globe.
Noting that Bangladesh is the current chair of ICTM, he said the OIC understands that Bangladesh has huge potential in tourism, and encouraged Bangladesh to discuss ways of cooperation among the member states.
“This celebration will be a wonderful platform to create a closer interaction and cooperation among OIC member states and related stakeholders involved in tourism industries,” said Bangladesh Tourism Board CEO Dr Bhubon Chandra Biswas.
He said the celebration will highlight Dhaka as an unparalleled city of history, heritage and culture among OIC member countries. “It will also tighten the bond and extend areas of cooperation in relation to development of tourism among the member states,” he said.
After the declaration of Dhaka as “City of Tourism”, Bangladesh sent project proposals to OIC headquarters through the foreign ministry, seeking support for conservation and development of Islamic heritage in Bangladesh, as well as capacity-building of Islamic University of Technology (IUT) in Gazipur for creating skilled human resources for the travel and hospitality sector.
“Our proposals will be discussed at the 11th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers to be held in 2020 at Azerbaijan,” the BTB chief said.
Dhaka achieved the honour, ahead of four other cities of OIC countries, and its closest contestant Gabala of Azerbaijan was made the “City of Tourism” for 2020.