Tour operators should diversify their products to tap into the sector's growing potential, the civil aviation and tourism minister said yesterday.
Rich culture and heritage give Bangladesh bright prospects to develop a variety of tourism products, said Rashed Khan Menon said. “A variety in tourism will attract more foreign visitors.”
Different types of tourism products include cultural tourism, community-based tourism, commodity tourism and nature-based tourism. “We want to see tourism as a real thrust sector due to its promise,” Menon said.
The minister spoke at a workshop on ways to “present Bangladesh in positive way”, organised by Bangladesh Tourism Board at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.
Imtiaz Muqbil, a tourism analyst from Thailand, suggested Bangladesh promote tourism through proper marketing.
The country should go beyond branding by developing its identity, said Muqbil, also an executive editor of a global travel publication, Travel Impact Newswire.
Islamic tourism will be a growth area for Bangladesh, he said, adding that the county has good tourism resources to attract tourists.
Arts and cultural tourism is another interesting tourism product, which Bangladesh can develop, he said.
Infrastructure development is a must to tap industry potential, he said. The tourism industry will create jobs if it flourishes in the right way, he said.
Tourism has been recognised as a driving force in the global economy for its significant contribution, and it is growing in Bangladesh gradually, said Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, chief executive of Bangladesh Tourism Board.
The sector's contribution to gross domestic product is expected to rise by 7.7 percent year-on-year to Tk 23,980 crore in 2014, according to a study of World Travel and Tourism Council, a London-based research organisation.
The industry also contributed 1.8 percent in the country's total employment sector last year, Kabir said.
“I believe the programme will help create awareness on tourism and upgrade our knowledge about global tourism.”