Diplomats propose joint tourism packages for South Asia
South Asian countries should focus on joint tourism packages to attract more visitors to the region, diplomats said yesterday.
It is time to focus on promoting inter-regional tourism, Hari Kumar Shrestha, ambassador of Nepal to Bangladesh, said at the inauguration of the third Asian Tourism Fair.
Parjatan Bichitra, Bangladesh Tourism Board and Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation co-organised the event at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
“Nepal has Mount Everest, the highest mountain, whereas Bangladesh has Cox's Bazar, the world's longest natural sandy sea beach,” he said, while suggesting a tourist package featuring the two spots.
Tourists generally make plans to visit multiple destinations, so Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka can integrate their tour packages to lure in more tourists, said Norlin Binti Othman, Malaysia's high commissioner to Bangladesh.
She went on to advise the government to take necessary steps to promote tourism. “You have lots of beautiful places, but if you do not share it, how will the tourists know?”
Khurshed Alam Chowdhury, secretary of the civil aviation and tourism ministry, recommended tourists to visit rural Bangladesh to get a taste of the unique hospitality and cultural diversity.
Asia is being considered as an important sightseeing destination due to its rich variety of tourist spots and the rapid economic growth the region is going through, said Aparup Chowdhury, chairman of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation.
Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, ambassador of Turkey to Bangladesh, called for more cooperation between Bangladesh and Turkey for development of the tourism sector.
Turkey is one of the highest tourist receiving countries in the world, with the total number of foreign tourist arrivals hitting the 36 million-mark last year, he said.
Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, chief executive of Bangladesh Tourism Board, urged the foreign diplomats to persuade their compatriots to visit Bangladesh. “Please speak about Bangladesh to your people,” he said.
AG Abeysekara, acting high commissioner of Sri Lanka in Dhaka, called upon the Bangladesh government to improve road connectivity for attracting more foreign tourists to the country.
A total of 120 organisations such as national tourism organisations, airlines, tour operators, hotels, resorts and foreign embassies from eight countries, including Malaysia, Philippines, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, are participating in the three-day event.
The purpose of the fair is to develop a link between the outbound and inbound tour operators and other stakeholders in Asia, said Mohiuddin Helal, chief organiser of the fair which will remain open from 11am to 8pm. Entry fee is Tk 20 but it is free for students.
At its stall at the fair, Biman Bangladesh Airlines is offering a 15 percent discount on business class tickets and 10 percent on economy ones for all international routes.
Rashed Khan Menon, minister for civil aviation and tourism, and Lee Yun-young, Korean ambassador to Bangladesh, also spoke.