Minister urges building tourism circuits in districts

NOVOAIR DTM-2019 scores new records in visitor arrivals, transacting higher amount of deals

_A Monitor Special01 Apr, 2019 | 964 Views|-+
Dhaka : The Dhaka Travel Mart (DTM), this year titled as NOVOAIR Dhaka Travel Mart-2019 has smashed all previous records in regards to up level participations, attra-cting higher number of visitors and conclusion of business deals. It also helped widen tourism network, with participation of national tourism organisations (NTO) from more countries.

The Bangla-desh Monitor, organised the fair for the 16th time with NOVOAIR as title sponsor Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. joined hands as partners and Nepal as partner country.

The three-day international tourism fair was held between March 21 and 23, at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka. The fair remained open for visitors between 10 am and 8 pm every day.

17 years ago in 2002, The Bangladesh Monitor, conceived and delivered the first DTM - an event, which had no track record at that time. Since then, there is no looking back. With the passage of time DTM continuously gained strength.

The 16th DTM ended on March 23 with spot orders and transactions worth over BDT60 million, which is nearly 15 per cent higher than that of the previous year. Over 16 thousand people visited the fair in three-days. The number is also sufficiently higher than the 15th edition of the fair.

Of the total business deals, discounted air travel for various local and international destinations offered by national carrier Biman Bang-ladesh Airlines, NOVOAIR, US-Bangla Airlines and Regent Airways accounted for the lion share.

Biman came up with discounts of 10 to 25 per cent on ticket prices for destinations to Kolkata, Kathmandu, Yangon, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Regent Airways offered 12 per cent, US-Bangla Airlines up to 20 per cent and NOVOAIR 15 per cent.

Besides, both foreign and domestic tourism agencies came up with packages at the fair targeting domestic and foreign tourists. They sold encouraging number of various tour packages, hotels, resorts and other travel related services.

One of the significant features of the 16th edition of the fair was the participation of five NTOs- Bangladesh Tourism Board, Nepal Touri-sm Board, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tourism Malaysia and Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia.

Apart from higher number of upscale participation with an important country like Indonesia being the new entrant, Nepal elevated its participation by being the partner country of NOVOAIR DTM-2019.

41 organisations of 7 countries including host Bangladesh displayed their products and services in 5 pavilions and 70 stalls during the fair.

The fair provided excellent opportunities for networking between business communities of different countries as well as among the NTOs and between NTOs and private sector.

Government plan

Inaugurating the NOVOAIR Dhaka Travel Mart-2019, Md Mahbub Ali, State Minister for Aviation and Tourism said tourism is one of the most important tools in development of economy. Bangladesh has many tourist attractions like tea gardens, Rangamati Lake and longest sea beach in Cox's Bazar.

The government, the minister said, is preparing a master plan for the development of tourism. Country's culture and tradition would be the base for developing tourist products he said and added plans have been taken to promote all districts as individual tourist attractions for both domestic and international tourists.

"All the districts have their unique features in terms of natural beauty or culture… we will promote that to tourists to give a boost to the country's travel and leisure industry," he said.

The state minister said the government is working on finding new district-based tourist destinations across the country. "We will make road connectivity with the new untapped tourist destinations and build tourism infrastructure," he said.

The minister said tourism can play important role in achieving SDG targets and under scored the importance of the role of private sector in this regard.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Diwakar B. Rana, Senior Manager of Nepal Tourism Board said Bangladesh is an important source market for Nepal tourism and its importance is growing day by day. Participation in NOVOAIR DTM-2019 as partner country is the indicator of that importance. The public and private sectors of Nepal have joined hands to market Visit Nepal Year 2020, he added.

Anwar Hossain, Head of Cards, Mutual Trust Bank Ltd., the banking partner of NOVOAIR DTM-2019 under scored the importance of credit card in modern day travel. Cards and travel are now inter-related. It is being used not only for payments but also for enjoying lounge facilities at airports.

Shakil Miraj, General Manager - PR of Biman, the airline partner said that the national flag carrier is focusing full attention to upgrade customer services, increase capacity in both domestic and international routes and extend international network.

He informed that more aircraft will be inducted to the fleet during year and a number of new destinations will be added to the network soon. He also informed introduction of Biman Holidays, a new customer services initiative.

Dhan Bahadur Oli, Minister - Counsellor and Charge d' Affaires, Embassy of Nepal in Dhaka said Nepal and Bangladesh has an excellent relations and working together to learn from each other is a must to solve common problems.

Mofizur Rahman, Managing Director of NOVOAIR, the title sponsor said DTM has become an icon event in gathering all the stakeholders of tourism under one roof and assured his airline's continued support.

"On time and safety" are the two most important aspects of NOVOAIR's operation, Rahman said and added the airline is trying to maintain higher level of customer services, at the same time.

Tourism and airlines go hand in hand and to ensure better service standard, improvement of aviation intrastructure in the country is a must to sustain the growth.

Dr Bhubon Chandra Biswas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), the partner NTO said though, the number of tourists has increased rapidly, domestic tourists still account for 98 per cent of the total tourists.

Inbound tourist traffic to the country is still and satisfactory, he said and added we will have to create a platform to attract foreign tourists presenting Bangladesh as a tourist destination.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Raquib Siddiqi, Chief Editor of The Bangladesh Monitor said Bangladesh tourism sector has been witnessing a remarkable and steady growth in the recent years. Private sector initiatives are playing leading roles in the development.

He also said the country has made a steady growth in air traffic, both domestic and international. The number of international air passengers has grown by 22.10 per cent over last five years, whereas domestic air traffic growth was 64.7 per cent during the same period.

In the year 2013, a total of 5,231,580 international travellers took to the sky, which increased to 6,388,050 in the year 2017 - a growth by 1.157 million.

On the domestic sectors 648,019 passengers have travelled in 2013; but at the end of 2017 the number rose to 1,067,537 - an increase by 419,518.

A message from Kazi Wahidul Alam, Chairman of DTM Organising Committee who was hospitalised with heart ailment, was read out.

Raffle draw on the entry coupons was held on the concluding day, March 23 at 7.30 pm at the fair venue in front of visitors. Prizes included airline tickets to various destinations - domestic and foreign, exciting tour packages, star hotel accommodation, lunch/dinner coupons, among others.

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