This was made possible thanks to the massive vaccination campaign across the country to contain the spread of the new virus

The Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) envisions 3 million local tourists over the next five years as the economy is steadily on the road to recovery after being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was made possible thanks to the massive vaccination campaign across the country to contain the spread of the new virus.

Javed Ahmed, CEO of BTB, made the remarks during an interview with Dhaka Tribune recently, adding that the next five years are likely to increase the middle and upper class population, attracting more local tourists.

Before the pandemic, some 2 million Bangladeshis visited different parts of the country each year, he said.

According to an UNWTO forecast for 2020, Bangladesh suffered a loss of $ 470 million in the travel and tourism industry.

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Various small businesses in the sector, including hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and tour operators, have been affected by the pandemic.

The Bangladesh Tour Operators Association (Toab) has estimated a loss of up to Tk 6,000 crore, with 70% of the total 3 workers in the industry losing their jobs in the past 1.5 years.

Before the pandemic, one crore of people traveled the country every year, generating income of Tk 250 crore.

Contribution to GDP

The CEO of BTB also said that the contribution of the country’s travel and tourism sector to its gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at 4.9%. It is expected to increase in the coming years.

However, countries like Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and India contribute more to their respective countries’ GDP than Bangladesh.

For example, in 2018, the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to GDP (as a percentage of total GDP) was around 66.4% in Maldives, 12.5% ​​in Sri Lanka, 9.2% in India, 7.9% in Nepal and 7.1% in Pakistan.

During the same period, Bangladesh’s contribution to its GDP was 4.4%.

Javed Ahmed said that in 2019, the global tourism industry generated 330 million new jobs with revenues of $ 8.9 trillion. The total contribution of the tourism sector to global GDP was 10%.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has short, medium and long term plans to develop the local tourism sector, he added.

Ahemd also informed about government initiatives to build three tourist parks – Sabrang Tourist Park, Naf Tourist Park and Sonadia Ecotourism Park – in Cox’s Bazar.

As the Padma Bridge is slated to open next year, the travel time between Dhaka-Sundarbans and Dhaka-Kuakata Beach will be significantly reduced, the CEO of BTB said.

Former Toab President Professor Akbaruddin Ahmad said that with the launch of the Padma Bridge next year and the massive vaccination program underway in South Asian countries, Bangladesh will experience a local tourism boom. and regional in the coming days, according to experts involved in the travel and tourism sector.

Bangladesh will experience a boom in the arrival of tourists from other South Asian countries after the Padma Bridge opens to all, Ahmad told Dhaka Tribune.

Connectivity with the southern part of the country with the capital will mark a significant improvement which will help boost local and international tourism, he added.

The travel and tourism sectors are the worst victims of the pandemic, leaving hundreds of people unemployed during this period, Ahmad also said.