10th Asian Tourism Fair, 1st BD Tourism Summit Inaugurated
Towards shaping the future of travel, the Tourism Development Summit 2023 and the 10th Asian Tourism Fair (ATF) opened on Thursday on a high note at BICC in Dhaka for 3 days. Many hopes and suggestions came from this ceremony to reduce issues regarding traveling to Bangladesh.
Travel enthusiasts, industry professionals, and stakeholders from the Asian region, including Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Dubai, joined this mega event to boost tourism, exchange cultural experiences, and promote economic growth. This year’s edition, scheduled from September 21 to 23, open to all from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., promises to be even grander as it celebrates its milestone 10th anniversary.
As the Chief Guest of the Inaugural Ceremony, Mahbub Ali, State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, said, “Our heritage, unique culture, natural beauties, and local goods are saleable to travelers.” The government implements a master plan to develop a sustainable tourism industry by developing internal connections, people’s lifestyles, and tourist attractions.”
He also said, “In addition, we believe only regional cooperation can boost our collective tourism industries in Asia. Our priority should be ensuring positive tourism branding.”
Mr. Lokman Hossain Miah, Executive Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, said, “Bangladesh can be considered for your next investment as this country has a very good transport system, a large domestic market, food sufficiency, etc. This country is top in Asia for Japanese investors.”
He mentioned that BIDA created an investor lounge in the airport so that they could travel comfortably and save time.
Civil Aviation & Tourism Secretary Mokammel Hossain said, “Bangladesh is friendly, has potential for tourism, and welcomes green energy, so connecting to Bangladesh culture and business can be a good decision.” He emphasized the easy visa process and diversity for the development of tourism.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Chairman Rahat Anwar said, “The fair creates an everlasting impression on our collective tourism industries. This initiative can help develop relationships among participating countries.”
Abu Tahir Muhmmad Zaber, CEO, Bangladesh Tourism Board, said, “We have Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata, Ratargul, Tea Garden, etc. We are including Padma Bridge here. We are trying to brand these globally with $1 billion within five years.”
Atiqur Rahaman, Managing Director, Bangladesh Services Limited, said, “Local foods and locally produced goods like jute products are essential for sustainable tourism development. Hotel Intercontinental tries to use these items in its cuisine and hospitality.”
Managing Director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Siddikur Rahman said “Bangladesh Biman is a major stakeholder in the country’s tourism industry. Biman tries to add new generations’ aircraft and new destinations. Our next plan is to add Chennai, NY, Maloy, etc.”
Mrs. Ruwanthi Delpitiya, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said, “We appreciate shared cultural values. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have many similarities in culture and tourism. We are promised to remain easy travelers to Sri Lanka for the development of tourism.”
Nepal’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Ghanshyam Bhandari said, “Close connections are needed to promote both countries’ tourism. Most Bangladeshi and Nepali festivals are the same; food habits and socio-cultural similarities can bring us closer. We have the Himalayas, the longest sea beach, and the SUndarbans. We can promote collectively to reduce poverty and foster development.”
Mr. Mohiuddin Helal, Chairman, Asian Tourism Fair 2023, Convenor, Bangladesh Tourism Development Summit 2023, and Editor, Parjatan Bichitra & The TravelBound, said, “ATF is now a regional tourism hub. This year, 115 tourism groups participated. There is a shared sense of excitement and anticipation for the years of adventure that lie ahead. The event is not just a celebration of the past but a blueprint for the future of tourism, where connections are forged, cultures are shared, and horizons are expanded.”
Mr. Norgay Lachungpa, a visitor from Sikkim in India, told the Business Mirror, “I came here for the first time; this country is as beautiful as our country. I think Bangladesh and Sikkim, India, can work together to open more tourism developments.”
Vincent, a visitor from China, told the Business Mirror, “In Bangladesh, I had to spend 2 hours on an immigration pass. Also, visa processing to enter Bangladesh took too much time. I think your country should focus on these to make the process easier. Moreover, in the city, experiences on roads and streets are just terrible to me.”
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh Tourism Board, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Biman Bangladesh, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), National Skill Development Authority (NSDA), and ICT Division’s a2i support the event.
Investment Opportunities in Tourism, Emerging Trends of Smart Tourism, Responsible Initiatives for the Sustainability of Future Tourism, Future Skilled Jobs, and Entrepreneurship in Tourism, with parallel sessions on storytelling, career guidance, professional talk, and the Responsible Tourism Clinic, were set to be discussed here.
An English travel magazine launched at the fair named The TravelBound, which promises to be everyone’s passport to the global news that can be used.