Bangladesh is a small but diversified and beautiful land in South Asia. It has green plain land, medium-height hilly range with evergreen trees, sandy sea beaches and the largest mangrove forest in its beauty basket. With such land diversity it has ethnic diversity of people, religious varieties, cultural differences and different life styles of the people. It has centuries-old archaeological places. Tourist attractions of the country can be classified into the following categories:
BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE: Bangladesh has beautiful spots like Bisanakandi at Sylhet, Sangu River at Thanchi in Bandarban, tea gardens in Srimongol, Bhawal National Park in Gazipur, Himchari National Park in Cox's Bazar, Kaptai National Park in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Lawachara National Park in Moulavibazar, Medha Kassapia National Park in Cox's Bazar, Modhupur National Park in Tangail/Mymensingh, Nijhum Dweep National Park in Noakhali, Ramsagar National Park in Dinajpur, Satchari National Park in Habigonj, Char Kukri-Mukri Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhola, Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary in Chittagong, Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Rema-Kelenga Wildlife Sanctuary in Habigonj, Teknaf Game Reserve in Cox's Bazar, Dulahazara Safari Park in Cox's Bazar, Madhabkunda eco-park in Moulavibazar, National Botanical Garden in Dhaka and Sitakunda Botanical Garden and eco-park in Chittagong etc.
ARCHEOLOGICAL EXCELLENCE: Bangladesh has a long list of archeological/historical tourist attractions like Lalbagh Fort in Dhaka, Ahsan Manzil in Dhaka, Sonargaon, Shalbon Bihar in Kotbari, Comilla, the War Cemetery in Moynamati, Comilla, Mahasthangarh in Bogra, Shat Gombuj Mosque in Bagherhat, Tajhat Palace in Rangpur, Paharpur Bihar in Naogan, Kantoji Temple in Dinajpur, Puthia Palace in Rajshahi, Baliati Zamindar bari in Manikganj, Suna Mosque in Chapai Nawabgaonj, etc.
SEA BEACHES: Bangladesh has the longest sandy sea beach of the world, i.e., the Cox's Bazar Sea Beach. Besides, we have other beautiful beaches like Patenga Sea Beach in Chittagong, Parki Sea Beach in Chittagong, Teknaf Sea Beach in Cox's Bazar, Saint Martin's sea beach in Cox's Bazar, Kuakata Sea Beach in Patuakhali, Kotka, Dublar Char and Hiron Point in the Sundarbans.
RELIGIOUS HOLY PLACES: Bangladesh is a country having diversified and rich religious attractions like Mazar of Hazrat Shah Jalal (Rh.) and Shah Poran (Rh.) in Sylhet, Shah Mostafa (Rh.) in Moulvibazar, Khan Jahan Ali (Rh.) in Bagherhat, Shah Mokhdum (Rh.) in Rajshahi, Baro Awlia in Chittagong and a long list of historic and modern mosques throughout the country. All these are considered as holy places by the Muslim community. Bangladesh is also home to religious heritages of the Hindu community like Dhakeshwari Temple in Dhaka, Joy Kali Temple in Dhaka, Kantaji Temple in Dinajpur, Chandranath Temple in Chittagong, Dhamrai Jagannath Roth in Dhamrai, Boro Kali Bari Temple in Mymensingh, Comilla Jagannath Temple in Comilla, Adinath Temple, Moheshkhali, Cox's Bazar and Bhabanipur Shaktipeethin Bogra, etc. There are places in Bangladesh carrying memories of famous Buddhist Saint Atish Dipankar and many more.
HILL STATIONS: A range of the Himalayas has entered into Bangladesh via Sylhet, Moulvibazar region and continued its journey up to the Cox's Bazar via Comilla, Chittagong Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrasori districts. All these hills boast of evergreen forests to increase their beauties. Winter hill station-based tourism could be further promoted these places. Diversified ethnic cultures of these regions could offer an extra favour of amusement to the tourists.
ISLANDS: Island-based tourism chain could be developed in the St. Martin's Island, Chhera Island, Jaliadwip, Kutubdia, Maheshkhali Island, Sonadia, Sandwip, Char Nizam, Char Kukri Mukri, Dal Char, Char Gazi, Char Faizuddin, Ramnabad Island, Char Mantaz, Rangabali, Dublar Char, Burir Char and Nijhum Dwip, etc.
THE SUNDARBANS: The Sundarbans alone could be a destination of diversified classes of tourism like river cruise, sightseeing, etc.
With increasing per capita income of the people Bangladesh has a big prospect of domestic tourism. With scanty tourism facilities at home, the people now go to nearby countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand to meet their tourism needs.
We have many limitations in terms of tourist infrastructure, safe environment, secure residence, unwanted hassles from criminals or police so on and so forth. Until now tourism is a seasonal affair (mainly winter-based). But it could be developed as a year-long industry with proper planning.
We have to change our mindset from foreign tourist-dependent to domestic tourist-based activities. Private sector investment should be diverted to this sector to develop tourism industry for attracting foreign tourists and retaining domestic tourists at home.
The writer is Deputy Manager,