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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tourism policy suggests

The Daily Star : Tourism policy suggests one-stop service for private investment

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has drafted a new policy with several recommendations such as one-stop-service for private investment in the tourism sector, aiming to make it time-bound and pragmatic.The tourism policy of 1992 has also been amended, as the drafting authority foresees a stiff competition in the sector by 2020, thanks to possible extensive investments by local and multinational businesses.

Presently, tourism is one of five top earning sectors for the world's 83 percent countries, with one in every 11 employed persons in the world is engaged in tourism.As per the draft paper, the government plans to make beaches as ideal holiday destinations by creating facilities such as cultural centre, club, bar, discotheque, casino and international standard resorts.

Setting up a tourism village near Zia International Airport in Dhaka for foreign tourists are also under the plan."Besides coastal areas, if there is any permanent island on the big rivers around the capital, it would be developed as special tourism zone for foreigners," the paper reads.

To diversify tourism attractions, the government in collaboration with the private sector would develop adventure tourism, tracking, surfing, hiking and scuba diving.Dublar Char will also be brought under the tourism development programme and eco-tourism in the Sundarbans be expanded. Facilities such as eco-lodge, watchtower, walkway and night-hiking facilities will also be created to attract tourists there.

The draft policy suggested easing visa procedures to arrange visa on arrival for group tourists.As per the plan, the country will be divided into eight greater tourism areas. Besides, committees comprising local leaders and government representatives will be formed in areas where big number of tourists flock.

The government also wants to deploy plain clothed Tourist Police in top tourist spots for tourists' safety.A National Tourism Council will be formed with the prime minister as its head to facilitate prompt decisions for tourism development.The government will facilitate public-private partnership, supporting the private sector in the areas of land allocation, infrastructure development and training.

However, the policy paper is undergoing different changes in line with suggestions from government bodies, tour operators, academics and other stakeholders."The paper is undergoing huge changes and the latest meeting on the issue will take place on May 27," said a high official of the ministry concerned.

The ministry will submit the policy before the cabinet soon for its approval, the official added.On the public-private partnership, Hasan Mansur, managing director of Guide Tours, suggested, “The government should be cautious in such partnership, because in the past some facilities of the tourism sector were leased out to some inefficient people resulting in bad performances of such services."



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