Current Status of Tourism Industry In Bangladesh: An Empirical Evaluation

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Scientific Research Journal (SCIRJ), Volume 1, Issue 1, August 2013
ISSN 2201-2796
Current Status of Tourism Industry In
Bangladesh: An Empirical Evaluation
Dr. Jannat Ara Parveen
Department of Finance and Banking
Faculty of Business Administration
University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
Email: [email protected]
Abstract- For many developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) tourism is considered to be the one of
the fundamental pillars of their economic development. But despite having many prospects, this industry in Bangladesh remains
neglected for a long time and the share of Bangladesh in world tourism is very poor. This research mainly highlights the current
position of tourism industry, its contribution to the economic development and
share of Bangladesh toutism as per SAARC*
comparison. The study mainly examines current growth and development of this industry and also examines some limitations and
challenges of the said industry. Finally, some policy measures have been included as opined by the respondents (service providing
organizations and tourists) to resolve its existing barriers as claimed by the aforesaid respondents. It is hopeful that the findings of this
research may be considered by the government policy makers and private sector (investors) while formulating their policies for the
future development and expansion of tourism industry in Bangladesh.
Index Terms-- Bangladesh Tourism, SAARC Tourism, Tourism Products, Bangladesh Parjaton Corpotation, Domestic and Foreign
Tourists and Institutional Facilities.
* SAARC- Aouth Asian Association for Regional cooperation
Over recent decades, the travel and tourism (T&T) sector has increasingly become an important driver of economic prosperity
and social progress. It stimulates growth through jobs and enterprise creation, and provides significant foreign exchange revenues
for many countries. The sector generates opportunities for reducing poverty and inequality, preserving natural and cultural heritage,
and upgrading infrastructure[i]. As per World Travel and Tourism Council Annual Updates, travel & tourism's direct contribution to
world GDP and employment in 2012 was US$ 2.1 trillion (2012 prices) and 101 million jobsii. This continued growth in tourism
business through out the world is encouraging and nations are becoming more concern to attract more tourists to their own
destinations and trying to promoting this sector as a major source for the economic development of the nation (Ibid).
The exceptional growth of tourism over the last 50 years is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena of the
21st centuryiii. While travel was once an uncertain and hazardous event but it is now an easily planned and coordinated adventure
that has been revolutionized since middle of last century by vast improvements in transportation in general and air transportation in
particular, computer technology, and networks of international communication. Tourism offers the opportunity of providing jobs
for different classes of people and thereby contributing to the alleviation of poverty in developing countries. Tourism generates jobs
directly through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales and indirectly through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-
related businesses. The growing importance of Travel & Tourism in the global economy will mean that by 2023, Travel &
Tourism's total contribution will account for 10.0% of GDP and 1 in 10 jobs. Total Travel & Tourism employment is forecast to
increase by over 70 million jobs over the next decade, with two-thirds of the additional jobs in Asiaiv. Besides, The World Travel
and Tourism Council (WTTC) and UNWTO reports say that international arrivals have been positive in 2012, although in the Euro
Zone, due to sovereign debt issues and national austerity policies, tourism spending has declined. The pace of growth in the
developing countries, including Bangladesh, is faster than in developed nations. Asia will continue to lead growth of the global
Travel & Tourism industry over the next decade, with annual average growth of over 6%. Asia's growth will be driven by
increasing wealth among its middle classesv. Bangladesh is located conveniently on the east-west air-corridor making it a gateway
to the Far East. It is endowed with resources and the potential for a tourism industry. Also, in Bangladesh, there are some beautiful
and ancient sanctuaries (holly places) which have special appeal to attract tourists in Bangladesh. Visitors from the Middle East,
Pakistan, India, Korea, Thailand and Japan can be attracted to the historically important sanctuaries like mosque, shrines, tombs,
temples, churches and Buddhist monasteriesvi .
However, Bangladesh's tourism sector still has remained largely untapped, although the country is home to the world's largest
Mangrove Forest, the Sundarbans and the world's longest sea beach , the Cox's Bazar, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the beautiful hills in
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Rangamati, the exotic tea gardens in Sylhet, and this is just to name a few attractions. Bangladesh has tremendous potential for
becoming an international tourist hotspot but in reality, that is not exactly the case. Due to the under-developed sector of tourism,
Bangladesh is missing out on huge amounts of revenue every yearvii.
1.2. Rationale of the Study
Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main
income sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an increasing diversification and competition
among destinations.viii In Bangladesh the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was BDT 193.0bn (2.1% of total GDP)
in 2012, and is forecast to rise by 7.7% in 2013, and to rise by 6.4% pa, from 2013-2023, to BDT 384.7bn in 2023 (in constant
2012 prices). However, over the last twenty years, the tourism sector in Bangladesh has not made enough progress. The lack of
infrastructure and promotional activities through media are the main reason behind itix. Compared to the past two decades, recently
the government and private companies have invested more money for the development of tourism sector. According to Bangladesh
Parjatan Corporation (BPCx) report in 2007, the government of Bangladesh promised to spend around Tk. 5.7 billion ($ 81.1
million) for the tourism sector, which is 2.1% of the total government expenditure. In 2012, government also committed to spend
50 crore taka for the development of this sectorxi. Hossain, in a study (2006) revealed that Bangladesh has a positive trend in
arrivals and earnings and it can be increased to a significant level if the country can undertake appropriate promotion measures by
increasing the allocation for this purpose. The country also needs to employ creative people for this purpose and the quality of the
promotional materials also needs to be developed. The promotional activities should also be directed in correcting the present
image towards Bangladesh as tourists' destination. By ensuring these measures, Bangladesh tourism industry can emerge as one of
the major contributors to the national economy of Bangladesh. Henderson (2011) in his research on Philippine highlighted that
improper arrangement of infrastructure of a country seems to perceive negatively by the international visitors to choose a
destination. He also highlighted about other factors that almost influence on inbound and outbound tourist to travel like political
instability, security and safety xii
As per previous initiative, Bangladesh National Tourism Council started in 2008, and continues in 2010. During the years,
several initiatives such as revamping the Tourism Policy, the formation of the Bangladesh Parjatan Board and the National Tourism
Council were started, but the actual changes on the ground were slow and stakeholders were often at cross purposes. The new board
still remains under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and not a separate tourism ministry. Meanwhile, the private sector continued to
formulate its own strategies, resulting in uncoordinated attempts to attract tourismxiii. The contribution of tourism to economic well-
being depends on the uality and the revenues of the tourism offer.
T assists destinations in their sustainable positioning in
ever more complex national and international mar ets. As the
agency dedicated to tourism,
points out that
particularly developing countries stand to benefit from sustainable tourism and acts to help make this a realityxiv
The relationship between exports, tourism and economic growth is still ongoingxv. Bangladesh is a large deficit economy
country. In case of a deficit economy, that typically represents an import oriented structure is expected to spend more on
imports to support its activities than what it earns through export. In recent years there has been an increase of interest in the
role of tourism for growth and development for developing countries economy and Bangladesh has been focused on its economic
policies to promote international tourism as a potential source of economic growthxvi . Though, tourism industry and its market
have grown phenomenally worldwide, this industry and its market have not grown in Bangladesh as per its potentials. Lack of
proper/sufficient promotion is one of the major reasons not for developing the industry in Bangladesh up to the mark. Because,
potential touriss need to know properly about the attractions, services, facilities, etc. at the destinations and accessibility to there
through various forms of promotional measures. Besides, the expansion of tourism business and the increased competition among
destination countries throughout the world have necessitated developing appropriate promotional approaches by the tourism firms
worldwide. Infact, tourism in Bangladesh is becoming an emerging issue both for the public and private sector to establish their
eligibility for accomplishing a successful business as well as marketing activities developmentxvii. The participation of the private
sector in this industry is not remarkable and even most of the private tour operators are new in this area. They also have the
resource constraint to play the active role for the development of this industry. The effective steps to encourage the private sector
investment from the local as well as from the foreign investor's, public private partnership (PPP) investment can contribute a lot to
develop the industry in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh also lacks the infrastructural facilities to the standard of international levels to its destination places. This important
issue needs to be considered immediately and in the priority basis before going to promoting the same sector in order to develop the
industry. It is one of the important means of foreign exchange earning and also contributing to correct negative balance of payment.
But the share of Bangladesh in the world tourism is very poor and share of this sector to GDP growth is less than 1 percentxviii.
Japan has a national objective of having 10 million departures a year and almost 80% Japanese travelers travel for pleasure and
holidays. But Bangladesh failed to attract this potential market even though Bangladesh has various excellent tourist products - the
Buddhist Stupas and Monasteries--the main tourist attraction for Japanese touristsxix. So ,it is crystal clear that despite of having
many tourism prospects and products, the tourism sector in Bangladesh remains neglected for a long time. In global context as well
as SAARC comparison, Bangladesh's share is very disappointing. In the above context, this study is an attempt by the researcher to
evaluate present trend, condition and prospects of tourism industry which can contribute a lot to flourish the economy of the
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country. Besides, this study also examines the problems existed in the said industry, that create great hindrance in the flow of
worldwide potential tourists', income from tourism and expanding economic development in Bangladesh.
1.3. Objective of the Study
The main objective of this research is to critically examine the current tend, prospects and problems of tourism industry in
Bangladesh. In this context, to have a proper and clear idea about the issue, the study covers the following aspects :
To analyze present scenario of tourism industry in Bangladesh;
To examine the share and contribution of Bangladesh tourism industry in SAARC Comparison;
To evaluate vrious prospects of tourism and existing promotional facilities for the development of the said industry; and
To examine various problems and challenges, which hinders the rapid expansion and development of this industry, and
some policy implication to overcome the afreosaid issues.
1.4. Study Methodology
The present study is a combination of both theoretical and empirical one and has been limited to Cox's Bazar of Chittagong -
the tourists' capital of Bangladesh. Among various important tourists spots in the country, the Cox's Bazar, Chittagong has been
chosen by the researcher through random sampling technique. Both primary and secondary data have been used in this research.
For getting primary data, especially privately owned service providing organizations (hotels / motels) and both local and foreign
tourists have been selected for interview with a pre-designed questionnaire. A sample of twenty (20) hotels / motels (From
Chittagon city and Cox's Bazaar) and fifty (50) tourists' (domestic and foreign ) from Cox's Bazaar spot have been selected
randomly and interviewed in this purpose. Two sets of questionnaires have been designed for study purpose. One for the tourists'
and other one for the service providing organization (tour operators, hotel manager / owner). The questionnaire for tourists also
have been transalated into Bengali for domestic as well as local tourists.
The sources of secondary data and information includes : Report of Bangladesh Parjaton Corporation (BPC), The Statistical
Year Books, The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and UNWTO- 2013, WTO- World Tourism Organization (WTO),
Report, 2012, The ASEAN Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, 2013, Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Economic Impact
Report, 2013, Travel and Tourism in Bangladesh, Country Report, 2011, Bangladesh Bank, the concerned Ministry and published
thesis, books, journal, daily newspapers and websites etc. For getting theoretical foundation of the study, the existing literatures and
web site documents were investigated and analyzed.
1.5 Measurement Techniques
To analyse the collected data, different quantitative and qualitative measures have been applied in the study. In quantitative
analysis of the data, conventional statistical tools like ratio, percentage, simple averages charts and graphs have been used to
analyze the relevant data and information. In order to measure qualitative responses, such as: opinion, reactions, attitude etc. the
qualitative scale has been converted to uantitative one by using Li ert's Five-Point Rating Scales ranging from Very Important
(VI) to Very Un Important (VUI). The Weights have chosen for VI (Very Important) = 5, I (Important) = 4, N ( Not So Important)
= 3, UI (Un Important) = 2, and VUI(Very Un Important) = 1. The implication of the instrument is that the higher the score, the
greater is the extent of concern issue playing important role in the tourism industry's growth and development in Bangladesh.
The study results have been analyzed and discussed under the following captions according to the objectives of the research.
2.1 Present Scenario of Tourism Industry in Bangladesh
During the last five years (2006-2010) Bangladesh received a total number of 15,29,000 visitors and earned US$ 413.00
million. Besides, WTTC data showed that in 2011, travel and tourism directly supported 1,329,000 jobs (1.9 percent of total
employment in Bangladesh. This is expected to rise by 3.6 percent in 2012 and 2.9 percent a year to create 1,840,000 jobs (2% of
total employment) in 2022xx. The country is trying from the inception of this industry to attracting more tourists to its destinations
and to earn more foreign currency from this sector. The statistics on this industry shows that both the arrivals and earnings from
tourism in Bangladesh have increased over the past.
Current Trend of International Tourists and Income from Tourism
The statistics collected on tourism inductry show that both the arrivals and earnings from tourism in Bangladesh have increased
over the past. However, statistically it may reflect an impressive profile but in a true sense the picture is somewhat different. In
terms of global increasing trend in both the number of tourist arrivals and the earnings from tourism, the same in Bangladesh is
very insignificant. The following chart-1 and 2 show Bangladesh's share of income from tourism.
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Chart-1 : InternationTourists Arrivals in Bangladesh since 1996-2010
Foreign Tourist Arrivals since 1996-2010
ie 200000
Foof 100000
Source : Table --l, in appendix-1.
Chart-2 : Income from Bangladesh Tourism industry since 1996-2010
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Foreign Exchange Earnings (In Million Tk.)
% Change
Source: Table--1 in appendix-1
The above charts reveal on an average an increasing trend over the years (1996-2010) in case of both foreign exchange earnings
and tourists arrivals in Bangladesh. From the year 1996- l997, the trend is seen very outstanding and from the year 2000 -2006
more or less gradually increasing trend has been seen. A bit decreasing trend is seen in the years 2007. From the year 2008, this
industry booms again with an outstanding trend except the year 2009. This declining trend could be due to some political unrests,
especially BDR murder, share market down turn etc. at that time in the country. However, over the study periods, the overall trend
shows significant picture for country. So, for Bangladesh, it could be a matter of great opportunity to develop its tourism sector,
which unfortunately has been at low ebb and could not be any significant contributory sector for its national development compared
to other SAARC countries like India, Srilanka, Pakistan etc.,
Tourism industries development may be an important instrument for economic advancement for Bangladesh, if necessary
initiatives are taken. For overall sustainable development of Bangladesh, tourism comprises as one of the key development
components. A strategic Master Plan has also been formulated by the World Tourism Organization with the assistance of UNDP
for integrated development of tourism in the country.
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Current Status of Domestic Tourism
Bangladesh is a young destination in the world tourism map. Despite slow growth, the Bangladesh tourism sector is currently
poised to be moderately sized. At present, the potential of tourism has been recognised and efforts are underway to reflect that in
the development policies and programmes. Bangladesh witnessed an average growth in the number of tourists by 15 percent in
2006-2010. The present size of domestic tourism is also increasing, reaching about 5 million. In the last year about 1.5 million
tourists (5 percent international tourists) visited Cox's Bazar xxiWith gradual development of the industry, a modest tangible
benefit cascades down to the local people. Local communities are coming forward with their products and are now able to earn
some money for their livelihoods. Private sectors enterprises are also coming up with hotels, motels and restaurants, benefitting
locals with jobs. The foreign and domestic tourists generate income of about Tk 100 billion, inclusive of direct and indirect support
services like hotels, resorts, restaurants, transportation and entertainment. The government also has plans to create more facilities in
different areas so that the locals get priority in selling handicrafts, poultry, meat, fish and vegetables (Ibid). The following Chart-3
shows share of domestic tourism in GDP compared to foreign / international tourism's contribution.
Chart-3: Share of Bangladesh Tourism Industry to GDP
Source: WTTC, 2013
It is apparent from the above chart-3 that share of domestic tourism to country's GDP is 97.7% and foreign visitors share is
2.3%. Also, according to the report of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), 2013, the direct contribution of Bangladesh
travel and tourism to its economy in 2011 was Tk 182.5 billion (2.2 percent of total GDP), and forecasted to rise by 7.3 percent in
2012. In addition, it is expected to rise by 6.1 percent a year till 2022 to Tk 353.7 billion (in constant 2011 prices). So, tourism in
Bangladesh probably the most potential sector for the small and medium enterprises to create new empowerment opportunities and
government has to act as the facilitator rather than regulator. Supportive government policies would help generate in-bound tourism
to help expand the activities in the sector.
2.2 Share of Bangladesh Tourism Industry in SAARC Comparison
In comparison with SAARC countries statistics, Bangladesh's share from tourism is very insignificant (See Charts 3 & 4) in
terms of both tourists' arrival and income from this industry. The following chart-3 shows Bangladesh's share of income from
tourism in the SAARC countries.
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Chart-3: Receipts / Income from Tourism of SAARC Countries (1797-2005).
Tourism Receipts of SAARC Countries (Since 1997-2008)
)$S 12000
on 10000
iM 8000
Sri Lanka
ec 4000
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Source: Table-2 in Appendix-I.
It is apparent from Chart --3 that earnings from tourism in Bangladesh is very dissapointing. The chart also reveals that India
occupies first position. As one of the important and rising developing countries, Bangladesh's position is seen after
Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. There is continuous political unrest, terrorists attack, bomb exploition in Pakistan, Srilanka and
even in India, but their tourism industry has been continuously flourishing and contributes a significant share to country's
GDPxxii.Bangladesh has huge potentials of tourism products, but these are not developed according to the demand of international
tourists. For this reason, Bangladesh cannot reach to its goal in spite of its various potentials and products.
Chart-4: International Tourists Arrivals in SAARC Countries from 1997-2008.
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International Tourist Arrival in SAARC Countries Since 1997-2010
) 5000
t 3000
Sri Lanka
To 2000
oN 1000
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Source : Table in appendix-I
From the above Chart --4, it is also clear that in case of tourist arrivals, Bangladesh's position is very gloomy compared to the
position of other SAARC countries. In this regard, India holds first position; second Nepal, third Pakistan fourth Sri Lanka and so
on. Due to twin- tower destruction in September 11, 2001, a decreasing trend of tourists is seen in case of most of the countries of
the world. But the tourist flow maintained its healthy magnitude in the Asian region though the Afghanistan war and tension
between Pakistan and India. Now, it is a right time that Government and other concerned authorities can consider this burning issue
in an urgent basis to boost the economic development of the country. However, the below Chart-5 depicts the growth rate of
international tourists arrivals in SAARC countries over the years.
Chart-5: Growth Rate of International Tourists Arrivals in SAARC Countries from 1997-2008.
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Growth Rate of International Tourist Arrivals of SAARC Countries
%)n 4000.00%
(e 3000.00%
Sri Lanka
-1000.00% 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Source: Table -3, in Appendix-1
The above chart presents the growth rate of international tourists arrivals in SAARC countries since 1997-2008. In this regard,
statistics stated in the prevoius Chart --4 shows that tourist arrivals in Bangladesh is very poor compared to the position of other
SAARC countries and India holds the highest position. But, in growth rate comparison among SAARC countries, Bangladesh's
holds the highest position. So, it is a great opportunity for Bangladersh to reap this benefit, develop this industry as per global
competittion and making this industry as an important desinatios world-wide. It is stated in the earlier section that the country is
known as an important tourist destination in South Asian countries. Yet, the country fails to attract huge potential tourists from
home and abroad due to its inadequate infrastructure facilities, social security, corruption and terrorism, and very weak law and
order situation etc. Although, the number of tourist arrivals in Bangladesh shows an increasing trend over the years (See Chart-3),
still Bangladesh has not been able to reap the full benefits in the tourism industry up to the desired level according to its potentiality
and importance.
2.3 Contribution of Tourism industry in Bangladesh Economy
Bangladesh has many types of products to attract international and domestic tourists (please see appendix -3). Tourism in
Bangladesh is a slowly developing foreign currency earner. Bangladesh's tourist attractions include archaeological sites, historical
mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forests and tribal people, wildlife of various species. Bangladesh offers
ample opportunities to tourists for angling, water skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, yachting, sea bathing as well as bringing
one in close touch with pristine naturexxiii. According to the statistics of the country's National Tourism Authority (NTA), a total of
349,837 foreign tourists visited Bangladesh in 2008, which was about 21 percent higher than that in 2007. Despite the rise in
number of tourists' visits, the incomes from the tourism sector in 2008 came down to 4. 60 billion taka (about 65.7 million U.S.
dollars) in 2008 from 5.27 billion taka (about 75.3 million U.S. dollars) in 2007xxiv. Also, during the last five years (2006-2010)
Bangladesh received a total number of 15,29,000 visitors and earned US$ 413.00 million. The country is trying from the inception
of this industry to attracting more tourists to its destinations and to earn more foreign currency from this sector. The statistics on
this sector shows that both the arrivals and earnings from tourism in Bangladesh have increased over the past.
However, with growing international interest in traveling through Asia, tourism is taking roots in Bangladesh. From
international tourists' movement's point of view, Bangladesh is in the Macro-Asian air corridor of the transcontinental traffic
connecting Europe with East- Asia and Australia. Also, the country is located in the mid-connecting point of South and South East
Asian countriesxxv. Besides, China Southern Airlines saw a marked improvement in traffic to Bangladesh since its first flight in
2009. In 2010, Air China, the other Chinese airline, reported a surge in Chinese visitors to Bangladesh, reflecting China's increased
interest in Bangladesh, both for tourism as well as strategic investment from the Chinese government. In the latter half of 2010, the
governments of China and Bangladesh moved towards another air lin between Dha a and Chong ing, China's largest port city.
India's Jet Airways landed in Dha a, too, in 2010. nited Airways Limited became the first listed aviation company in Bangladesh
in 2010, inducting two Airbuses and one ATR aircraft on domestic flightsxxvi.
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Bangladesh is now considered as one of the leading countries having a GDP growth which has been acclaimed internationally
because of exports from Bangladesh including garments, manpower etc. This economic growth will spur the growth of tourism
industry. According to an estimate, 9,000 international standard rooms will be available in Bangladesh in next 5 years. In this
connection initial contacts have been signed by some leading international chains already for construction of hotels and resorts in
Dha a, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Sylhet. For operations of these rooms nearly 15,000 trained wor ers will be needed for which
more hospitality training institutes have to be established both in the public and the private sectorsxxvii.
To capitalise on the potential of tourism, the government framed a new Tourism Policy in 2010, which underlines the
development of eco-tourism, community tourism, rural tourism, pilgrimage tourism, riverine tourism, archaeological tourism and
other forms of tourism in the context of Bangladesh's traditions and cultures. The policy also emphasised private sector led
tourism. A tourism board has been formed for marketing and publicity abroad. A law titled `Exclusive Tourist Zone and Tourism
Protected Area' was recently enacted to attract foreign investment and sustainable development of the sectorxxviii .
The tourism industry is one of the few sectors in which Nepal holds a comparative advantage and the industry has influenced
segments of Nepal's economy and social system through the multiplier effect including hotels, restaurants, transport, shopping,
entertainment and other allied economic activities (Ibid). Bangladesh has all the potentials to be an attractive tourist destination. Its
tourism and hospitality industry can generate income and job opportunities for the unemployed youth. The foreign and domestic
tourists generate income of about Tk 100 billion, inclusive of direct and indirect support services like hotels, resorts, restaurants,
transportation and entertainment. Not even 1.0 per cent of this income goes out to obtain goods or services as required by the RMG
business. This is a solid income that can be multiplied by public and private partnership. This is probably the most potential sector
for the small and medium enterprises to create new empowerment opportunities. The government has to act as the facilitator.
Supportive government policies would help generate in-bound tourism to help expand the activities in the sector. The hospitality
and tourism industry has all the potentials to help boost the overall economic growth. The below chart- 6 shows Contribution /
share to Travel and Tourism to GDP in Banhladesh.
Chart- 6: Shate of Travel and Tourism to GDP in Banhladesh
Source: BangladeshTravel and Tourism Economic Impact Report, 2013, p. 7
The above stated chart reveals on an average potive trend of share of Bangladesh Travel and Tourism to GDP. The direct
contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in 2012 was BDT 193.0 bn (2.1% of GDP). This is forecast to rise by 7.7% to BDT
207.8bn in 2013.This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and
other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). But it also includes, for example, the activities of the
restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists. So, it is positive sign for the country to expand and develop its
tourism industry for the rapid expansion and development of its slowly growing economy.
2.4 Institutional Support for Tourism Development- a Review
In Bangladesh, only national tourism organization (BPC) is engaged to develop tourism industry in Bangladesh. The
government created in 2009 the Tourism Board in addition to the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, which existed for the last 40
years to expedite the growth of tourism in the country. It now appears that both the organisations are less active in their divided
filed of activities. It is learnt from a very senior officer of the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation that during the last financial year
(2011-2012), the government allocated Tk.650.00 million to the Board for promoting and branding Bangladesh. A bulk of this
allocation has remained unusedxxix. The government has enacted a Tourist Resort Act in 2010 to safe guard the interest of the
tourist areas. But there are allegations that this law is being flouted by MPs, party men, local influential people in connivance with
the local administration (Ibid). The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, despite its existence from 1975, has not been able to
bring out any official hotel guide, travel agents guide and tour operators guide. The minister is generally seen performing routine
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functions such as banning smoking in tourist hotels (government by a law) has banned smoking in public places inauguration of 3-4
travel fairs in a year and these travel fairs promote foreign destinations, rather than domestic tourist centres. But BPC alone cannot
develop this industry to meet global competition. Private sector initiatives especially public private initiatives (like power sector,
transportation and communication) can play vital role in this regard. At present some private organizations like the Concord
Group and others have seen coming forward in this purpose. To establish and develop tourism in Bangladesh Concord Group has
taken some projects like Fantasy Kingdom, Water Kingdom, and Heritage Park. etc.
2.4.1 Promotional Activities for Tourism Development
The above stated statistics (see previous section 2.1) of tourism industry of Bangladesh revealed that the country has a positive
trend in arrivals and earnings (average) and it can be increased to a significant level if the country can undertake appropriate
promotional measures especially by increasing the allocation for this purpose. The study findings of Hossain (2006) reveal that
though Bangladesh has many beautiful attractions to its destination, it fails to attract the significant number of tourists partly
because of insufficient promotional activities. As the country lacks sufficient funds for this purpose, it can not take the necessary
promotional activities for this industry. Besides, in the face of stiff competition among the destination countries as well as SAARC
countries, effective and drastic promotional measures are essential for the development of this industry.
As Bangladesh tourism appears to have suffered mostly due to inadequate and ineffective promotional activities and
promotional activities play an important role in the marketing of the same, it is necessary to study how promotion can play the role
in tourism industry in Bangladesh. Statistics show that Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), the only public sector tour operator
in Bangladesh spent Tk. 7.935 million in 1995-96 which rose to TK. 10.413 in 2004-05 for promotional activity which is only
0.71% and 0.23% of its earning respectively. On the other hand the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) generates a return-on-
investment of $4 for every dollar spent promoting Virginia's tourism and for every one dollar spent in advertising returns almost
four dollars in taxes to Virginiaxxx. However, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation could not meet this requirement due to lack of
needed fund along with the absence of decision-ma ers' foresightedness. As a result, this sector and its mar et have failed to grow
properly not merely because it lacks enough attractions and facilities. But time has not yet past over. Still there are lots of scopes
and opportunities, if Bangladesh attempts to highlight it as a tourist destination to the potential tourists properly through an
effective promotional measure and can take some initiatives to develop some infrastructural facilities, the country would be able to
earn many times higher than the present by attracting more tourists with in a short time. In this regard, for the convenient of both
tourists, investors and policy makers, some important information of tourism prospects, products available in Bangladesh is shown
in the Appendix-3.
2.5 Constraint and Challenges of Bangladesh Tourism Industry
The following sections discuss about
current problems faced by Bangladesh tourism industry. In this regard, data and
information have been collected through pre-designed questionnaires from the selected service providing organizations and from
tourists (domestic and international).
Constraints opined by Service Providing Organizations
The respondents were as ed to identify various problems that existed at the spots especially at Cox's Bazaar. Some of the major
contraints identified by the sample hotel's manager are analyzed and measured in Five--Point Likert Scale and shown in the Figure
--1 (in Appendix --2) as rank. Among various problems as opined by the respondents, Lack of government initiatives for
developing tourism industry 70% respondents ranked it very important and 10% ranked as very unimportant. This issue scored 4.15
and placed first position as ran . In the same way, Poor infrastructure facilities in the spots scored 4.10 and placed, 2' position Lack
of recreation facilities for the tourists (like --Boating, wind surfing, Horse racing, and other playing facilities etc scored 3.8 placed
3 position, weather forecasting system 3.75, lack of tourism experts in hotels scored 3.7, and so on. Moreover one administrative
official of hotel Sea Gull gave his opinion on the said issue as: i). Very limited scope for higher education in this area. ii) Natural
beauty is not seen in the Television and Internet widely, so that people in abroad don't now about the country. Also Embassy's
initiatives are not remarkable in this regard. iii) Lack of international package tour operation with the collaboration of other
countries. Besides, another official of hotel Sea Crown commented that people getting higher education in the field of tourism with
scholarship from abroad are not interested to join again in this industry in Bangladesh. For this reason, there is lack of expert people
in most of the hotels and motels of the tourists' spots in Bangladesh.
2.5.2 Constraints as opined by Tourists
Tourists' were also interviewed with a pre-designed questionnaire to know their opinions about various problems existed in the
tourism industry in Bangladesh. Their opinion also measured in Five- Point Scale in the Figure-2 (Appendix --2) rank wise. The
afreosaid table reveals that `inade uate infrastructure facilities' has been given highest score (4.18) and 26 respondents have treated
the issue as very important followed by ` lac of modern recreation facilities' (4.14).Lac of safety and security (4.12), sufficient
and quality food stuff is not available in the spot areas (4.06) have been given 3rd and score . `Travel agents are not available in
most of the hotels & motels (Cox's Bazar)' has given lowest score (3.2). However, both the respondents (service providing
organization and tourists) have placed their comment on some common issues as stated in Figure 1 & 2 in Appendix - 2. To resolve
the aforesaid barriers of tourism industry in Bangladesh, they suggest some policy guidelines, which are included in the later
(c) 2013, Scientific Research Journal