Dhaka : Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, disruption in the service industry's activities made a devastating impact on the country's economy, similar to the rest of the world. This shows how vital the service industry is for an emerging country like Bangladesh and also how economically promising tourism can be as it is the 9th out of the 34 most prioritised service industries of the country as per the National Industry Policy 2022. According to the Policy, tourism ranks 3rd among the 17 prioritised industries of Bangladesh and it includes 22 subsectors, covering over 100 businesses, manufacturers, services, initiatives and activities.
This came forth during the launching ceremony of the first-ever 'Bangladesh Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Awards' programme organised by the travel trade publication The Bangladesh Monitor at BICC in the capital on November 11.
While sharing the statistics in his speech on the occasion, Abu Taher Md Jaber, CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board said, the data shows how significant the tourism industry is and, more importantly, the scope of tourism will only increase further as the government and private sectors are working hand-in-hand to this effect, added the CEO of BTB.
It has been a long-standing demand of the private sector to have the government and policymakers' attention to facilitating them with more policy support in order to tap the full potential of the country's tourism industry.
In this regard, the CEO of BTB said the government has formulated the long-awaited comprehensive tourism master plan to provide a roadmap for tourism till the year 2041.
Focusing on achieving incremental growth of tourism, the masterplan will work as a guideline for planned development of resorts and sustainable tourism across the country, being a key catalyst for rapid economy growth and job creation as well as for making Bangladesh a leading sustainable and smart tourism destination by 2041 in line with the government's SDG goals and Vision 2041, he added.
Professor Shibli Rubayet Ul Islam, Chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission presided over the launching ceremony of the new award programme for the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors of the country, aimed to recognise the people and organisations for contributions to their respective fields in the fast-growing tourism industry of the country.
Bangladesh is currently seeking investments using its demographic advantage and geostrategic location for economic and tourist related activities, said Prof Shibli while addressing the programme, adding, this will greatly contribute in achieving the SDG goals and the status of a middle-income country by 2026.
The tourism masterplan is ready to make the industry vibrant and attractive as well as a destination for international tourist visits, fully utilising the country's natural beauties-beach, mangrove forest, archaeological sites and many other products. "To this effect, we are trying to come up and finance more tourism related projects in Bangladesh," informed Shibli.
The first-ever award programme in this sector titled 'Bangladesh Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Awards', will create competition in the industry and encourage its stakeholders to continue improving their service standard, he also mentioned.
BTB CEO Abu Taher Md Jaber also claimed such recognition will motivate the stakeholders of the sector to excel further.
"Such recognition, expert manpower from reputed institutions and financing, together, will make the sector flourish and alleviate it to new heights," expressed Prof Shibli.
The Editor of The Bangladesh Monitor, organiser of the 'Bangladesh Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Awards', in his inaugural speech, said, "Introduction of such an award programme has been a longstanding demand from the industry stakeholders. We are happy to finally launch the BTTHA."
"Our objective is to recognise the people and organisations for their valuable contribution towards developing this important industry of the country. According to the experts, this industry can play a very significant role in Bangladesh's economy as well as create huge employment opportunities," he claimed.
The awards will be given under four broad segments- tourism, travel, hospitality and restaurants. Under each sector, there will be many sub-segments to accommodate different areas of services.
A jury panel comprising representatives from relevant fields, civil society, media and others will select the awardees. Judgment will be conducted based on online public opinion, overall public perception, jury panel's opinion and other criteria. CSR activities undertaken by the organisations will also be taken into consideration.
Any individual or organisation can submit an entry for nomination in one or more categories. However, for each category, there should be a separate entry.
Submission of entries will continue until December 31, 2023. Following the primary scrutiny, the people and organisations will be selected for public voting, which will continue from January 15 to February 28, 2024.
The names of the awardees will be announced at a gala award ceremony to be held in the capital sometime in May 2024.
Details of the award programme are available on-www.bttha.com.