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17 March, 2020 11:26:47 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 March, 2020 11:27:26 AM

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Promoting tourism through Mujib Barsha celebrations

Bangladesh can capitalise this charismatic figure for developing the country’s image and promoting Bangladesh tourism abroad
Dr. Md. Afjal Hossain
Promoting tourism through Mujib Barsha celebrations

The greatest Bengali soul in the history of thousands of years is unequivocally Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He was a visionary politician, nature lover and tourism dreamer of Bangladesh. Immediately after the Independence of Bangladesh in 1971, his challenge was to reconstruct and develop the country without any money, resource, industry and infrastructure. He had to organize agriculture, nationalize the Banks and insurance companies, re-start the Mills and factories, and establish the police force. In such a situation, Bangabandhu thought of the tourism industry as well. He had political visits to Kuakata and Cox’s Bazar in 1972 and became impressed by seeing the beauty there. He immediately wanted to see and make Bangladesh as a heavenly tourist destination. Through his farsightness, he understood that tourism can bring millions of dollars for the country and thus help rebuilding process of the country. Accordingly, he formed Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. Bangladesh is going to observe the Mujib’s Birth Century from the 17the March, 2020 to 26th March, 2021. Different departments and organizations will undertake different programs throughout the year to celebrate the Mujib’s Birth Century.  They will undertake publicity programs on Bangabandhu’s life, activities, ideology, and philosophy. Through this programs and publicity, Bangladesh will try to build a positive image as ‘Bangabandhu’s Bangladesh’ and attract huge number of foreign tourists in the country.

Formation of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC)
Bangabandhu was fond of natural beauty of Bangladesh. This encouraged him to travel the entire country. His travels across the country aroused in him the spirit of developing tourism in Bangladesh. There was a small department ‘Department of Tourism’ with a small office in the then East Pakistan. It did not have any visible and satisfactory activity. The Pakistani ruler at last in 1970 formed a ‘Tourism Cell’ accompanying private entrepreneurs. These two organizations were entrusted with tourism development in the East Pakistan. They also could not start with any worthy activity. Bangabandhu always dreamt and aspired to promote the country as one of the best tourist destinations of the world. Tourism was always in his priority lists while he was a national leader and the President of the country (Alam, 2016). To him, our economic emancipation and image building largely depends on tourism development in Bangladesh. Besides, he visited Englad on July 30 in 1972 for the operation of Gall Bladder and from there he went to Geneva as a health recovery trip (Alam, 2016). He was impressed so much seeing the heavenly beauty of the earth in Switzerland. He immediately made up his mind to borrow the Switzerland Model of tourism development and thus move to transform Cox’s Bazar as the Geneva of Asia and remodel Bangladesh as the Switzerland of Asia (Alam, 2016). His dream encouraged him to planting Tamarisk (Jhau) tree along the famous natural sea beach of Cox’s Bazar (Alam, 2016). Bangabandhu also wanted to transform “St. Martin’s Island” as the Wonder Island after the “Great Barrier Reef” of Queensland.

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Celebration of the Birth Century of Bangabandhu Focusing Tourism
Bangladesh government has declared 17 March, 2020 to 26 March, 2021 as Mujib’s Birth Century. The parliamentary standing committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism has undertaken year-long programs to celebrate his birth century and present Bangabandhu’s political ideology and activity globally. Attempts will be taken to showcase the tourism potentials in Bangladesh to the wider world (Alam, 2016). The programs will include various activities to be performed by Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Baman Bangladesh Airlines, Bangladesh Tourism Board and Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation highlighting Mujib Birth Century and focusing tourism in Bangladesh. The Biman Bangladesh Airlines will highlight the life and activities of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. All airports and tourist centers of the country will be decorated and lighted properly. This will help highlight the role of Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibor Rahman in the development of Bangladesh Tourism and make its tourism more attractive.
Bangladesh can capitalise this charismatic figure for developing the country’s image and promoting Bangladesh tourism abroad. Introduction of Bangabandhu’s charismatic leadership, philosophies, ideologies, activities, and impressive speeches through proper publicity will create positive image of Bangladesh. These will be promoted to attract foreign tourists to Bangladesh. Different publications and videographies based on his biography should be developed and circulated widely. Social media could be utilized for the publicity of the life, activities, political struggle, and political philosophy of this great leader. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Bangladesh Tourism Board, and the Department of Film and Publications (DFP) should also take steps to publish books, brochures, posters, folders and flyers in multiple languages on the political ideologies and philosophies of Bangabandhu and distribute those globally to attract tourists to Bangladesh from there.
Tungipara: Bangabandhu was born on the 17th March in 1920 at Tungipara of Gopalganj district. He was buried at his home ground. Awami League Government has built a mausoleum complex on his graveyard and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the same on the 10th January of 2001. The complex includes library, research centre, mosque, display centre, public plaza, administrative building, cafeteria, open stage, souvenir corner, flower garden and artificial hill. Many tourists visit Stranford Upon Avon in England to see the birthplace of William Shakespeare and South Africa to see the residence of Nelson Mandela.
Bangabandhu Memorial Museums: This Museum is placed inside Bangabandhu’s residence at Dhaka. “After his brutal killing on 15th August, 1975 the house was under the military authority till 10th June, 1981. Military ruler Ziaur Rahman did not allow anybody to enter into the house.
Suhrawardy Udyan: Bangabandhu made his 7th March historic speech ‘The struggle this time is the struggle for our freedom; the struggle this time is the struggle for our independence’ on this ground. This speech inspired Bengalis to prepare for the freedom struggle. “That magical, powerful and impressive speech had united the whole human race and persuaded them to fight in the independence war against the Pakistani Military Janta (Khan, 2019)”. The original Bangladeshi flag was also hoisted here for the second time at a large public gathering. The Pakistani Army under Lt. General A.A.K. Niazi surrendered here to the Indian Army General Jagjit Sing Aurora on the 16th December, 1971 after their defeat in the War. The instrument of surrender was signed at this place and the date is celebrated by Bangladeshis as our Victory Day. The place is currently maintained as an historic park with a central flame set up in 1996 to symbolize our freedom.
Bangabandhu was the forerunner of today’s tourism development in Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working for the development of its tourism industry just like Bangabandhu did. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had done much in bringing Bangladesh to the attention of the world community and to materialize the founding father’s dream.
Sheikh Hasina’s government is relentlessly trying to build a happy, prosperous and secular Bangladesh free of hunger and poverty. She is developing proper infrastructure, improving the electricity supply position, training people for tourism industry, establishing three Exclusive Tourist Zones, improving facilities in the tourism destinations and easing bureaucratic system for tourism to grow. A 129 kilometers railway project is under construction to connect Cox’s Bazar through Ghumdhum (Bandarbans) with Dohajari of Chittagong. A 80 kilometers long Marine Beach drive-way has already been constructed along the sea shore from Cox’s Bazar to Teknaf. Government has already updated the Tourism Policy in 2010, established the NTO (BTB) in 2010, enacted Tourist Police Act in 2013 to better protect tourists, deployed them in different destination, look after the nature and wildlife in the tourists spots and build confidence among tourists, revised the Environment Safety and Security Act in 2012, and taken steps to issue on-arrival visa at the airport. All these will help develop tourism in Bangladesh.
The present government is setting up three tourism parks in Cox’s Bazar. These are Sonadia Eco-Tourism Park (Maheskhali), Naf Tourism Park (Teknaf Sadar Union), and Sabrang Tourism Park (Sabrang Union in Teknaf Upazila).
The BEZA is implementing those three projects. Here, emphasis will be given to ensure all the necessary facilities with international standard so that foreign tourists are attracted there. All establishments will be constructed there by the end of 2022 ensuring those to be tolerant to earthquake and disasters. Sheikh Hasina’s government has also undertaken a project to prepare a Strategic Master Plan aiming at further boosting the tourism sector.
The IPE Global along with an international partner (Horwarth HTL) and two national firms (BETS and At Earth) has started preparing the Strategic Master Plan which is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2021.

The writer is faculty Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management University of Dhaka

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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