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8. Juni 2010 2 08 /06 /Juni /2010 18:48

Bangladesh has vast opportunity to earn huge foreign currency from tourism sector like today's garments sector by using its geographical location and natural beauties.

But the governments of the country so far did not give full concentration to flourish the sector.

Tourism expert and managing director of Tour Guide Ltd, a leading tour operating company of the country, said this while talking to The New Nation yesterday.

He suggested that the sector would progress significantly if it was handed over to the tourism experts.

If the sector was kept under the authority of the bureaucrats, its progress would remain as usual, he opined, stating that further complication would arise on its way to the sustainable development.

Meanwhile, the cabinet has approved a draft on tourism law, styled Bangladesh Reserved Areas for Tourism and Special Tourism Zones Act-2010 and later a gazette will be issued in this regard after passing the law in parliament.

Sources said the government is taking a ten-year mega plan for the development of tourism sector in three phases with a target of earning Taka 3,000 crore to 5,000 crore a year.

The country is currently earning a revenue of Taka 500 to 600 crore only from the tourism sector.

The revenue earning from the sector was Taka 449.38 crore in 2005, Taka 553.6 crore in 2006, Taka 526.51 crore in 2007, Taka 612.45 crore in 2008 and Taka 573.79 crore in 2009.

Bangladesh easily draws the attention of foreigners focusing tourism spots and ensuring security and infrastructure development, tourism expert Hasan Mansur said terming the country as tourist treasures because it has a 120-km long beach of soft silvery sand, perhaps the world's longest, Royel Bangal enriched Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest of South Asia, and archaeological sites.

Mansur suggested the government to establish a tourism board like Nepal and Thailand for accelerating the sector's growth.

In the approved draft act, there is a provision for developing special tourist zones for foreigners. Provision is also there to develop 2,200 modern and attractive tourist spots in the country.

A list of tourist sports would be published in a gazette notification to preserve those after the passage of the law in parliament.

As per the new law, no structures could be built in any area of tourism without approval of the civil aviation and tourism ministry or concerned authorities. Development activities would be carried out only in the areas as per the plan of the4 government.Ministry sources said an exclusive tourist zone is likely to be set up at Mankhali in Cox's Bazar at the initial stage.

Local government division, city corporation, department of environment, district administration and other department and agencies would work in coordination to this end.

After implementation of the government's mega plan, the number of foreign tourists would increase to 40 lakh in next 10 years, according to sources in civil aviation and tourism ministry.
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