Protected Tourism Zone

Bangladesh is a beautiful country, with a fascinating history and rich cultural heritage, all factors which contribute to the increasing numbers of tourists visiting each year. In recognition of the important role tourism plays in the economy of the country, the Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, Ghulam Mohammad Quader, introduced the Bangladesh Protected Tourism Area and Special Tourism Zone Bill for consideration by Bangladeshi authorities in mid-June 2010, with the bill being approved on June 27.

The new bill proposes that certain areas which have potential for development as tourist attractions, should be declared as tourism protected areas. This would include restrictions being put on unmonitored activities in these areas, with punitive measures being taken against those violating the restrictions. A number of options are being explored with regard to the development of a tourism zone with tourist centers and infrastructure, as well as amusement and service-oriented facilities for the benefit of visitors. These options include developments by the public and private sector, or collaborative initiatives between the two sectors. Consideration will also be given to ongoing maintenance and control of access to the tourist zone, thereby ensuring any developments will be fully and properly utilized.

With the focus remaining on tourism, it was acknowledged by the Bangladesh Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry that in the past few years the private sector has made a significant contribution to the development of tourist-related facilities. Developments by the private sector include hotels, motels, amusement parks, resorts and restaurants at popular tourist destinations such as Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka, Sylhet, Bogra, Chittagong and Khulna. The development projects and subsequent staff requirements have created an estimated 50,000 new jobs, many of which went to youths entering the job market.

One of the newest developments taking place in Bangladesh is the five-star resort in Srimangal near Sylhet, known as the Grand Sultan Tea Resort and Golf Course. Covering more than 45 hectares and bordering the spectacular Lawachhara National Park, this new development is set to become a notable tourist destination in the years to come.

The rapid growth in the tourism industry is not only attributed to travelers from beyond the borders of Bangladesh. Growing numbers of local citizens are taking the opportunity to explore other areas of their vast country, thereby enriching their own life experiences, while at the same time providing an income to fellow Bangladeshis in the tourism industry.