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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tourism policy seeks larger share in budget

The Daily Star : Tourism policy seeks larger share in budget

The proposed national tourism development policy, awaiting parliament's endorsement, has prioritised more budgetary allocation for massive development of the industry.The draft policy widely encourages public private partnership and foreign investments for infrastructure development, which is considered a prerequisite to the sectoral uplift.

It also suggests providing special facilities to travel agents and tour operators as well as entrepreneurs, as enjoyed by the export-oriented industries.“The proposed policy has certain guidelines to establish public private partnership (PPP) and mobilise funds from local and foreign investors for infrastructure development to give a boost to the tourism industry,” said GM Quader, civil aviation and tourism minister.

“To this end, a budgetary allocation is now under government's consideration. We have approved 30 projects that are to get block allocation soon after the announcement of the new budget next month,” he added.“In addition, we have selected 10 other projects, encouraging PPP,” said Quader.

The minister thinks when the private sector comes up with around 90 percent investment proposals for infrastructure development it can be considered as an 'ideal situation.' “The government would take the responsibility of the rest portion,” Quader said, pointing to the policy suggestions.

The proposed policy also suggested different ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Relations Division under the Ministry of Finance, take initiatives to attract new investments, both from home and abroad.Special supplementary assistance should be provided to private entrepreneurs, it said further.

The policy also proposed that Bangladesh's foreign missions be involved in a bigger way to promote tourism.Stressing more budgetary allocation for infrastructure development, Hasan Mansur, tourism expert and managing director of The Guide Tours Ltd, said promotional activities should be beefed up at home and abroad to popularise the country's tourist spots.

Meanwhile, prior to placing the draft tourism policy before the budget session of Jatiya Sangsad (parliament), Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation demanded the government earmark funds for the corporation.



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