Tourism industry deserves more attention
Md Atikur Rahman
Tourism is a potential big sector in the country. For a long time, public and private investment in this sector has not been visible. The major projects undertaken by the government are ongoing.
However, the overall progress in this sector has been greatly hampered during the Corona period. Currently there is no foreign investment. In this regard, the concerned should give more importance for overall progress in this sector.
The possibility of tourism in the country has increased with the launch of Padma Bridge in the country. Sadly, still the facilities for the tourists in the tourist places have not increased much, which is hampering the overall progress of this sector.
Basically most of the tourist places in the country lack communication system, security, quality residential hotels and healthy restaurants. In many places, the internal roads of communication now remain mostly unpaved, causing great inconvenience to the tourists. Therefore, I think it is important for the government and related parties to take visible initiatives to develop the communication infrastructure as soon as possible.
Let us consider the overall situation of Kuakata, the attractive beach of the country. This attractive beach is located in the Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali in the southern region. The beach is 18 kilometers long and half a kilometer wide. Sunrise and sunset views can be seen from this beach. The presence of tourists in Kuakata is increasing compared to before.
After the inauguration of the Padma Bridge on July 25, nearly one and a half lakh tourists have come to Kuakata in the last one month.
But the internal roads of Kuakata municipality also remain unpaved, causing great suffering to tourists and spoiling their desire to travel. Recently, many people visiting Kuakata from Dhaka complain that they are disappointed when they reach Kuakata after crossing a long road. The main problem of Kuakata is the dire state of the beach.
The beach is gradually reduced by the waves of the sea. When the tide is high, there is no place to walk on the beach. Apart from that, the environment of the beach is disturbed by the garbage everywhere. This situation needs to end.
In order to enrich the tourism sector of the country, utmost importance should be given to infrastructure development including attracting foreign investment. Many restaurants here do not have a hygienic environment. The traveling court often raided these restaurants and fined them. In this case, businessmen have to change their attitude.
However, the reality is that without major foreign investment, it will not be possible to make the tourism sector attractive to foreigners. Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. are doing bustling business with huge investments just to attract foreigners. We need to think the same way.
Cox's Bazar is already widely known as the tourism capital of Bangladesh in the world. There are so many tourists coming here especially on holidays with hotels and motels lacking in accommodation. For this reason, it is important to take initiatives for further development of the infrastructural system here. I think it is important to make Cox's Bazar and its surrounding area more attractive to attract domestic and foreign tourists as well as ensure overall security.
The current government has taken various initiatives to explore the immense potential of the tourism industry, which I think is positive. According to the information, currently 25 projects have been undertaken to build tourism infrastructure in Cox's Bazar. Tk37,000crore will be directly invested in these. Indirect investment will be Tk1 lakh 97, 000crore. Projects include: Development of Cox's Bazar Airport, Construction of Modern Hotel-Motel, Construction of Power Plant at Maheshkhali, Development of Sonadia as a Special Tourist Area, Development of Inani Beach, Construction of Sabraeng Eco Tourism Park at Teknaf, Development of Shyamapur Beach, Development of Jhilongjha Beach, Construction of Chittagong Cox's Bazar Railway, Expansion of wind power project at Kutubdia, development of tourist connectivity to Mini Sundarbans at Chakoria, modernization of Dulahajara Safari Park.
Long-term and foreign investment is required to establish the tourism industry as a major industrial sector in the country. If we can ensure high-quality attractions and safety, foreign tourists will come to our country in large numbers. Why tourists are going to Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia should be investigated. Safety is paramount in this case. Secondly, attractive tourist destinations. Beautiful and innovative items of entertainment. Tourists will come if similar attractive recreational tourism centres can be developed.
Thirdly, infrastructural facilities for tourism must be ensured. Adequate roads, hotels, motels and airport facilities should be ensured. The government should take initiatives to improve the traffic situation.
Fourthly, the improvement of quality of road transport system should be given utmost importance.
An environment-friendly government should take up sound projects and ensure their quality and speedy implementation. In this case, national interest should be given importance. It can be seen that within a few months the roads, bridges, buildings constructed collapse or become unusable, which is not desirable. For this, honest, dedicated officials and businessmen are needed.
It is important to pay attention to the fact that if an establishment is built by commission trading, it is not of quality.
Tourism industry is becoming popular day by day in Bangladesh. The people of the country also want to see the country, want to travel, it has become a habit of many people to visit different districts during their free time. For this reason, tourism industry will expand if there are good facilities for entertainment and accommodation in different districts. And foreigners need safe roads, nice hotels and motels and full security system. It is our expectation that the heads of the relevant ministries and departments will take visible initiatives in this regard.
The writer is a columnist & former Head of PRD at BUFT