The tourism industry is widely recognised as a significant economic sector on a global scale. The tourism industry is widely recognised as a primary driver of socio-economic growth in contemporary society. Bangladesh has substantial prospects within the tourism sector. The country’s natural richness is distinct and unparalleled compared to other nations globally. Bangladesh exhibits substantial opportunities for the advancement of its tourist sector.
Bangladesh exhibits a relative lag in this business compared to its global counterparts. In 2017, the tourist sector significantly contributed Tk 850.7 billion to Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A total of 2.432 million employment opportunities have been generated in this sector. In the fiscal year under consideration, the investment in the tourism sector amounted to 43 billion rupees. Furthermore, despite the unavailability of precise data, it is approximated that approximately 500,000 foreign tourists visited Bangladesh in the previous year. About 40 million domestic tourists travelled throughout Bangladesh during the same year.
Bangladesh is renowned for its abundant natural diversity, offering a plethora of captivating landscapes and breathtaking beauty. Bangladesh boasts several remarkable natural attractions, such as the Sundarbans, which is the largest mangrove forest globally. Cox’s Bazar, renowned for its extensive coastline, also stands as the world’s longest beach. The Chittagong Hill Tracts exhibit captivating natural splendour, while the verdant woods of Sylhet further contribute to the country’s diverse natural landscapes. Cox’s Bazar Beach is the singular longest uninterrupted beach globally, with no comparable counterpart elsewhere. The lengthy beach, spanning 120 kilometres, is devoid of mud. Hence, the coast of Cox’s Bazar holds greater significance compared to beaches in various places across the globe and exhibits substantial potential.
Now, a range of initiatives are being implemented concerning Cox’s Bazar. Recently, there has been a notable development in the form of an 80 km marine drive project spanning from Cox’s Bazar to Teknaf. This initiative is expected to enhance the appeal of Cox’s Bazar as a tourism destination, both for local and international visitors. The present administration has formulated a strategic initiative to establish three tourism parks in Cox’s Bazar to entice visitors from various nations throughout the globe. This will result in an incremental $200 billion in annual economic activity. The three tourist parks under consideration are Sabrang Tourism Park, Naf Tourism Park, and Sonadia Eco Tourism Park.
The Sundarbans is well recognised as the largest mangrove forest on a global scale. Bangladesh possesses 60% of the entire forest area, which amounts to 6017 square kilometres, while the remaining portion is situated inside the borders of India. The Sundarbans was officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The Sundarbans possesses a distinctive quality that sets it apart from other tourist destinations worldwide: its exceptional biodiversity and abundant natural resources. The Sundarbans include a complex network of small islands characterised by ocean currents, canals, several interconnected rivers, mudflats, and mangrove forests with varying salt levels. The Royal Bengal Tiger is widely recognised as a prominent symbol of the Sundarbans. The forest is renowned for harbouring diverse animal species, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger, a variety of avian creatures, spotted deer, crocodiles, dolphins, and snakes.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts, a prominent hill region in Bangladesh, exhibits significant potential for tourism development. The Chittagong Hill Tracts region mainly comprises three administrative districts. The area under consideration is located in the southeastern part of Bangladesh and encompasses three distinct sections: Rangamati, Khagrachari, and Bandarban. The primary attraction of tourism in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region is its verdant natural environment, surrounded by picturesque hills. This captivating landscape holds a distinct allure for travellers, manifesting in many forms and captivating them at different times.
The process might be likened to a dynamic interplay when the manifestation of nature undergoes continuous transformation. Similar to how winter provides a distinct image to travellers, monsoons also exhibit a different form. During the winter, the mountains get enveloped in mist and clouds, which parallels the soft radiance of the golden light. Once more, during increased precipitation, the phenomenon of verdant awakening becomes evident across the surroundings. Currently, nature experiences a rejuvenation akin to a newfound vitality. During the monsoon season, adventure travellers predominantly engage in hiking activities within this hilly region. Subsequently, the local springs, lakes, and rivers undergo a transformative embellishment, attracting a substantial influx of tourists seeking to witness this spectacle. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the hill dwellers’ lifestyle exhibits stark contrasts compared to our own.
The Sylhet region in Bangladesh is renowned for its abundant natural beauty. The city in question boasts the distinction of hosting the foremost and most expansive tea garden in the subcontinent, the Malnichara tea garden. Jaflong, renowned for its aesthetic allure, is a prominent location in this region. The crystalline waters of the renowned Niland exhibit remarkable clarity, while the enchanting Bichnakandi showcases its mesmerising charm through its flowing stone water. The Panthumai waterfall gracefully descends from the mountains, adding to the scenic splendour. The Swamp Forest Ratargul, known for its distinctive characteristics, and the Hakaluki, often called the ‘mini Cox’s Bazar,’ captivate visitors with their alluring features. Additionally, the seductive beauty of Kanighat serves as an irresistible attraction for tourists.
The Haor region in Bangladesh exhibits significant potential as a tourist destination. The Haoran area in Bangladesh encompasses seven districts: Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Netrokona, Sylhet, Kishoreganj, and Brahmanbaria. This region is characterised by 423 haors, which collectively cover an area of 784,000 hectares. These haors are classified as wetlands. The Haor region, characterised by its vast expanse resembling an ocean, exhibits a remarkable sense of grandeur. To appreciate Haor’s aesthetic appeal, visitors can go on a boat excursion, allowing them to immerse themselves in the captivating allure of the expansive azure waters. The natural splendour of the border river, mountains, mountain springs, Hijal, Karach, Nal, Reed forest, diverse forest ecosystems, aquatic fauna, and the socio-economic activities of the inhabitants in the Haor region are likely to leave a profound impression on tourists and visitors.
The tourist business in Bangladesh holds significant potential. However, despite the considerable potential, there must be more in the tourism business attributable to adequate strategic planning. The development of this industry necessitates the implementation of integrated planning. All stakeholders within the tourist sector must collaborate and cooperate. In addition to fostering the growth of domestic tourism, it is imperative to prioritise promoting international tourist destinations. In tandem with the advancement of this particular sector, it is vital to prioritise the cultivation of proficient personnel. Implementing an appropriate action plan has the potential to enable the tourism industry to assume a significant role in Bangladesh’s economic and social development.