Rayhan Ahmed Topader:
Bangladesh as a vacation land has many facets. Her tourist attractions include archaeological sites, historic mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forest and wildlife. Bangladesh offers opportunities for angling, water-skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, surfing, yachting and sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with Mother Nature. She is also rich in wildlife and game birds. The history of Bangladesh has been one of extremes, of turmoil and peace, prosperity and destitution. It has thrived under the glow of cultural spiendour and suffered under the ravages of war. The earliest mention of Bangladesh is found in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata (the story of Great Battle-9th century B.C). Evidence also suggests that there was a strong Mongoloid presence as well. Soon after, in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. came the Aryans from Central Asia and the Dravidians from Western India. Then came the Guptas, Palas, Senas, who were Buddhist and Hindus. From the 13th century A.D. the flood of Muslim invaders and the tide of Islam swamped the Buddhist and Hindus untold 8th century. Sometimes there were independent rulers like the Hussain Shahi and Ilyas Shahi dynasties while at other times they ruled on behalf of the imperial seat of Delhi. From 15th century the Europeans, namely; Portuguese, Dutch, French and British traders exerted an economic influence over the region. British political rule over the region began in 1757 A.D. when the last Muslim ruler of Ben. gal was defeated at Palassey.
Migratory flock of Siberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, golpatta (round-leaf), fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural beauty of the Sundarbans. This is indeed a land for the sportsmen, the anglers and the photographers with its abundance of game, big and small, crocodile, wild boar, deer, pythons, wild-birds and above all the Royal Bengal Tiger, cunning, ruthless and yet majestic and graceful, For the less adventurously inclined, there are ducks and snipes, herons and coots, yellow-lags and sandpipers. It is also the land for the ordinary holiday makers who desire to rest or wander around at will to refresh their mind and feast their eyes with the rich treasure that nature has so fondly bestowed. The tourism industry is well-known as a composite of activities and services that deliver transportation, accommodation, food, shopping, entertainment and hospitality services available for the travelers. All these activities can enhance the economic development process by creating jobs, developing infrastructure and entrepreneurial skills, improving balance of payments, earning foreign exchanges and export revenues. The sustained demand for tourism, coupled with the industry’s ability to stay resilient in the face of shocks, continues to underline its great significance and value as a key sector for economic development. In fact, tourism has emerged from being a relatively small-scale activity into one of world’s largest industries since 1960s and onwards. The United Nations has identified the development of tourism as one of the methods poorer countries might use to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Bangladesh, being located in the connecting point of South and South East Asian countries, is home to the longest unbroken sandy sea beach (Cox’s Bazar) and the biggest mangrove area (Sundarbans) in the world. The country has bountiful resources to offer to both local and foreign travelers with its scenic beauty, ethnic diversity, unique cuisine, rich heritage and historical sites, profound religious sentiments and much more. The importance of tourism in Bangladesh is reflected in some recent stylised facts as highlighted in World Travel and Tourism Council. However, the tourism sector of the country has not been able to reap much benefit despite the immense prospects of development the tourism sector has. There are numerous reasons that stand as a hindrance to the development of the tourism sector of Bangladesh.First and foremost, the basic infrastructure of the country is a matter of great concern for both the local and foreign tourists. The cities and towns of the country lack adequate number of good quality accommodation facilities, decent public transports, safe and secured roads, well-equipped hospitals, and access to clean water, hygienic foods and an uninterrupted access to electricity. Secondly, the tourism infrastructure is not far too developed as well. The country has yet to offer resorts and hotels of quality, well-equipped with recreational facilities attractive to travelling tourists, well-trained tourist personnel to guide the tourists and other attractive entertainment facilities such as shopping malls, movie theatres, theme parks, museums etc.
Moreover, the lack of community support also stands as a major barrier to the development of the sector. A huge part of the population cannot read, write or speak in English, cannot properly guide a tourist to his destination or do not initiatives to help them in case they need it. The community has yet to fully understand the value of the tourism sector and that of the tourists. The pitiable law and order situation also, is a very crucial barrier to the growth of the sector. Among other problems, lack of long term plan (master plan) by government, lack of modern recreation facilities, promotional activities, traditional weather forecasting techniques, lack of sufficient safety & security system etc. are vital ones in this regard. It is thus very obvious that efforts need to be taken by Bangladesh government to overcome the barriers of tourism sector to diversify the export basket of the economy as well as attain a sustainable economic development. Covered in greenery as well as undulating hills. Bangladesh echoes with the Muslim call to prayer as well as Buddhist chants, and is one of the most mysterious and wonderful lands in Asia. Bangladesh is the neighbor of India, but you will find a less developed and more laid back atmosphere here. The country had a tumultuous past that saw it gain freedom from first the British and then from Pakistani rule. When you consider that all this happened in the 20th century, it just goes to show what a turbulent recent past Bangladesh has had to endure. As a result, it offers a slice of authentic life to travelers who want an untainted image of the region.
The people of Bangladesh are famously friendly and welcoming and the country is full of cultural wonders such as the tea covered highlands of Srimangal to the gorgeous golden sands of Cox’s Bazar, which is actually the third longest beach in the world. Other highlights include bustling cities like Dhaka as well as areas of rural paradise like the Sundarbans National Park. Tourist spots in Bangladesh are not concentrated in any particular place. Instead, they are scattered throughout the country. Division wise, we can present the tourist spots in Bangladesh as in Table 1.Jaflong: Jaflong is one of the best natural tourist spot in Sylhet. It is situated at the border between Bangladesh and the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is takes two hours to drive. Tourist can learn something from the lifestyle of Tribe Khasia in Jaflong.Ratargul: Ratargul is a fresh water swamp forest situated in Sylhet by the river of Goain. The water comes here from the adjacent Goain River. The flavor of Amazon forest is available there. Madhabkunda waterfall: This is one of the largest waterfalls in Bangladesh. It is situated in Moulvibazar District. On the way visitors can see the greenish beauty of tea garden and the hills. Rubber and lemon plantations form a beautiful landscape. Satchari National Park: This Park is in Habiganj District. Wildlife in this park is rich. Bisanakandi: Bisanakandi is situated at Bangladesh-India border in Sylhet. It is a landscape beauty among gardens and hills. Winter is not a suitable time to visit Bisnakandi due to mechanised mining and stone-laden boats and lorries. Srimongal: Srimongal is famous for the largest tea gardens of world.
Most of the tea estates are in Srimongal. It is called The land of two leaves and a bud”. It is known as the tea capital in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI) and Tea Museum are functioning there. Lawacherra Rain Forest: Well-reserved forests in Bangladesh. Prime attraction of this forest is rare Chloroform tree of Asia. It is like A Piece of Paradise. Patenga Sea Beaches: It is about 22 km. from Chittagong city. Besides the sea beach, you can enjoy boating and river cruise in the River Karnaphuli. Port Area: This is the principal sea port of Bangladesh.Cox’s Bazar: World longest (120 km long) beach .Winter is the season to visit the Cox’s Bazar.
St. Martins Island: St. Martins Island is the most beautiful Coral Island. Himchori : Himchori is famous for waterfall. Visitor can reach there by jeep from Cox’s Bazar. Parki beach: It is situated in Anwarathana under southern Chittagong region. Lalmai, Moinamoti and Shalbon Bihar: They are famous historical and archeological places around Comilla city. Rangamati: If you don’t visit Rangamati you will unable to discover a big portion of natural beauties of Bangladesh. Khagrachari: Khagrachhari is the natural wild beauty of Bangladesh. Here visitor can visit the tribal lifestyle. Kaptai Lake: Built in early sixties Kaptai Dam and the lake are the main attractions of Kaptai. Bandarban: Chimbuk hill is one of the major attractions of Bandarban. Ahsan Manzil: Ahsan Manzil was a residential palace for Dhaka Nawab Family. Shaheed Minar: The Shaheed Minar is a national monument in Dhaka.
Jatiyo Smritisoudho: Jatiyo Sritishoudho is the symbol in the memory of sacrifice of all those who gave their lives in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.Jatiya Sangshad Bahavan: It has been used for the Bangladesh National Assembly. Bangladesh is nature of beauty. Her tourist attractions include archaeological sites, historic mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forest and wildlife. Bangladesh offers opportunities for angling, water-skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, surfing, yachting and sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with Mother Nature. She is also rich in wildlife and game birds. New but minor source of foreign exchange earning. The economy is highly dependent on work force export, Ready Made Garments (RMG) and agriculture sector. Other prominent sectors are shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals etc. The rate of employment is 90 %, which is below expected level. As a result, disguised employment and employment at low wage rate is rising. Many of the people are illegally crossing border in the hope of better life. In order to improve employment rate and to stop the illegal migration, government has to take and implement some projects and policies, through this, it has to try to receive the social, cultural and economic benefits of the tourism sector. As part of tourism sector development, recently government has passed the Cox’s Bazaar Development Authority (CDA) at the meeting of ministry. This is supportable but not enough. The government of Bangladesh should place equal emphasis in its policy on the development of the tourist spots all over the country. This will create employment opportunity on the one hand and on the other hand it reduces the dependence of the country on some other specific sectors.
Writer and Columnist