Speakers at a programme on Saturday observed that Bangladesh tourism industry has been stuck up in plan, master plan, discussion, policy and law formulation and workshop, except for any visible progress.
They also noted that the much important sector is still suffering from poor road communication networks to the tourist spots, security and safety, quality service and weak management.
But state minister for tourism Mahbub Ali claimed that all the rural road network has become well constructed with pitch carpeting and all other roads and highways are well maintained as soon as any problem is detected which was challenged by some speakers.
Even senior secretary of tourism ministry Mohibul Haque admitted that road communication networks to some tourist spots are in a dilapidated condition and his ministry has submitted a list of such roads belonging to LGED and road transport and bridges ministry.
These were discussed at an online press briefing on the World Tourism Day 2020 which falls today (September 27). The theme of this year's tourism day is 'Tourism and Rural Development'.
Mohibul Haque said that as a single ministry, the tourism ministry is the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is uncertain when the industry can make up the loss.
"Bangladesh could not showcase its tourism products to the world which is our failure. The contribution of the industry is less than three per cent which should be 15 to 20 per cent," he said.
Regarding rural development and tourism, he said they want all the district level administration, local representatives, community and every stakeholder involved in the advancement process of tourism by creating awareness. The tourism board wants to enhance tourism attractions through eco tourism and home stay in rural Bangladesh. For attracting tourists, the existing tourism products need window dressing for display.
The secretary claimed that 0.7 million foreign tourists visited Bangladesh in the last fiscal year. He expressed hope that over 0.5 million outbound tourists will not be able to go outside the country this year. The ministry has been working to promote domestic tourism keeping those tourists in mind.
Mahbub Ali said that there is a recovery plan and rescue package of Tk 300 billion for the service sector like tourism. The stakeholders have to satisfy the banks to get loans.
Bangladesh tourism board chief executive officer Jabed Ahmed said that there is a thin possibility of long haul tourism for the next two years. That has opened the avenue of promoting domestic tourism through home stay and village centric tourism.