This year the theme of the World Tourism Day as designated by the UNWTO 'Tourism and Rural Development' is very appropriate for the rural-dominating countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Rural development through tourism is also sine-quo-non for Bangladesh. In the context of persisting COVID-19 reality, rural economy can immensely contribute to keep vibrant the overall economy of any country. Here rural economy can be strengthened by introducing tourism activities.
For the economic development of Bangladesh, our agro-dominant rural economy always plays an important role. Apart from the agriculture, Bangladesh possesses an immense potential of tourism development. With the proper utilization of this potential, should we can develop the innumerable tourism spots sprawled in local areas as tourism products to tourists, it will wield a positive contribution to our economy. That is why we need to develop each of all the potential spots as a tourist destination. The visits of tourists from home and abroad to these destinations will augment economic activities and generate employment. These activities will help develop community tourism in rural areas.
Tourism industry needs appropriate skilled workforce for its proper growth. Here needs trainings on various disciplines such as -- guiding, cooking, interpretations etc. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation -- established by the greatest-ever Bangalee of thousand years, the architect of our great independence and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- has been imparting trainings on various disciplines to the interested people. This organisation will continue to impart trainings in future. These innumerable skilled tourism workforces are working at home and abroad with much reputation. Among then, many got enormous successes.
We know that around 120 sectors are involved in tourism industry. As many as 30 people are directly and indirectly get engaged while providing services to a tourist. In this context, rural tourism can set forth an effective role to strengthen rural economy and generate employment. This will bring about financial solvency to the related people, expedite flourishing the related industries and create opportunities of permanent earning sources to many people. This will help booming small entrepreneurship and its positive outcome becomes inevitable. Domestic tourism is an important issue for rural development. The UNWTO Secretary General has already anticipated that domestic tourism can be a driving force for the post-COVID-19 world.
Since after the independence of the country, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has been undertaking manifold measures to develop tourism in the country. This organisation has established infrastructure and facilities near tourism attractions. As a result direct and indirect employments surrounding its establishment have automatically been generated. Apart from these, with the development of tourism many people find this industry as their professions. Meanwhile many organisations and entrepreneurs have grown up like TOAB, TRIAB and Tour Guide Association etc. Tourists are also being able to know history and heritage besides enjoying the fascinating beauty of the country. Through these activities, patriotism among the young people is firmly being inculcated. This process should immensely flourish more.
The development of tourism industry enhances the living-standard at the tourism sites of rural areas. It will increase more. Present government is very keen to develop tourism industry. Meanwhile upon facing the challenges of COVID-19 successfully, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and Bangladesh Tourism Board have prepared a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in the light of government-framed health guidelines to provide tourism services. With the kind assistance of Hon'ble Prime Minister, a beautiful tourism complex has recently been constructed in Dhaka. Government has also taken an initiative to prepare a Tourism Master Plan with a view to identifying tourism spots spread out across the country and developing those to tourists as tourism products. The government has also framed 'National Tourism Policy-2010'. According to the guideline of this Policy, tourism attractions are gradually being developed as tourism products. Recently at the initiative of Ministry of Information, pictorial books of a significant number of tourism attractions of Bangladesh, with Bengali and English description, have been produced. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation is always active to develop modern tourism facilities at all the tourism sites of the country with the financial assistance of the government.
Bangladesh has immense potential of developing its tourism. We are pledge-bound to portray the unique beauty of golden Bengal as dreamt by the Father of the Nation with the concerted effort of all quarters and utilising this potential. We should work hard to materialise our commitment as per theme of the World Tourism Day.
The writer is a tourism expert.