UNWTO CAP-CSA meet in port city on May 15-17

High-profile event will help brand Chittagong on int'l tourism map

A Monitor Report 16 May, 2017  |    -      +
Dhaka : The first-ever high-profile United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) event in the port city will help country brand Chittagong, surrounded by hills, rivers and the sea, on the international tourism map.

Rashed Khan Menon, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, said this while addressing a press conference at Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) conference hall in the city on May 9 ahead of the holding in Chittagong of UNWTO CAP-CSA meeting.

"We are going to hold the 29th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CAP-CSA) in the port city Chittagong on May 15 -17," Menon said.

A high-powered UNWTO delegation led by Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, will attend the CAP-CSA joint meeting, the organisation's principal annual event in the Asia-Pacific region this year, to be held at Radisson Blu Chittagong Bay View.

"During the CAP meeting 21 countries' and during CSA meeting nine countries' ministers, secretaries and international tourism experts will be present as will be different stakeholders from 35 countries of East and South Asia and Pacific region. They will discuss on sustainable tourism, tourism ethics, protection of tourists and rights and obligations of tourism service providers," Menon informed.

"This initiative will be helpful for our tourism sector's promotion and development abroad. It will also introduce our country as a MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) destination,", the minister said.

In the last three years we have showed immense success in tourism sector which even the UNWTO has accorded recognition. That's the reason they chose Bangladesh to hold conference of such a stature, he added.

In November last year, PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum was held in Cox's Bazar and the OIC conference on tourism will also be held in November this year.

Besides 14 five-star hotels operating in the country, more international chain hotels have registered themselves to open their properties in Bangladesh. Hotels, motels and resorts are coming up at different places of the country adding a dimension to tourism.

We have a big tourism plan centering Patenga of Chittagong. It will provide a big boost to tourism. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) is also planning to construct a five-star hotel in Parki.

The construction and inauguration of Cox's Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive on May 6 and inauguration the same day of B737-800 flights to Cox's Bazar airport by the Prime Minister signifies the importance this government attaches to tourism. This will help tourists to fly directly to Cox's Bazar, without going to or Chittagong.

Jobs, investment

The minister said, according to different international reports, tourism sector of the country provided jobs to over 11.38 lakh people directly and over 23.46 lakh indirectly in 2015, which is 4.1 per cent of employment. according to forecasts, it will 1.9 per cent every year and reach 28 lakh in 2026.

As per IATA data, 90 lakh people flew in 2014. In 2035 this figure will reach 2.10 crore. In 2014 the aviation sector provided employment to 13 lakh people. By 2035 this figure will rise by 145 per cent to 33 lakh. US$3 billion was added to GDP in 2014 which will rise by 142 per cent to US$8 billion in 2035.

In 2015, Tk 61.6 billion was invested in travel and tourism sector, which is 1.2 per cent of the total investment. By 2026, the percentage will rise to 8.8 per cent and amount invested to Tk 151.9 billion.

Answering a question, the minister informed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has floated tender to develop a separate beach for the foreign tourists. "The work will begin very soon and we expect it will be finished by 2018," he said.

SM Golam Faruque, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Dr Md Nasir Uddin, Chief Executive Officer, Bangladesh Tourism Board were present at the conference, among others.

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