Tk 29 crore already misused
Mahfuz Emran: The Bangladesh Tourism Board took the initiative of formulating a master plan three years ago for the development of the country’s tourism sector. But till today the institution could not finalize the master plan. But they are spending Tk 29 crore to plan.
If it takes three years to make a grand plan, how many years will it take to implement it – tourism sector stakeholders have raised the question. According to them, the situation has happened due to lack of coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh Tourism Board, Bangladesh Tourism Corporation and the institutions involved in the preparation of the master plan. They are just delaying in the name of making a grand plan.
As a result, the country’s tourism system is going down day by day.
However, tourism board officials say that the work of preparing this 30-year master plan is at the final stage. This plan will be finalized this month. But till Wednesday (November 30), they could not tell the exact percentage of work completed.
When asked about the reason for the delay in the preparation of the master plan, the project director and deputy director (research and planning) of the tourism board Mohammad Saiful Hasan gave the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic. He told, “As far as I know, the work on the project is often over.” There are instructions from higher authorities to finalize it this month itself.
But he said that he will be able to tell the exact percentage of work that has been completed till Wednesday (November 30) next week.
Bangladesh Tourism Board’s research and planning branch sources said that in 2020, Bangladesh Tourism Board signed an agreement with foreign consulting firm IPE Global to develop a master plan.
According to the agreement, the formulation of the master plan began on January 1, 2020. It was supposed to end on June 30 this year. But due to corona the work got stuck. Later the duration of the project was extended till this month (December 2022). The contract price of this project including VAT and AIT is about Tk 2866 million.
According to Tourism Board and IPE Global, the master plan has been done in short, medium and long term. In the first phase, the current state of the country’s tourism industry will be analyzed, what is its strength, where are its weaknesses, what are its prospects, what kind of crisis is there. The second phase will determine the vision, mission, strategic objectives, priorities and linkages of tourism in Bangladesh. In the third phase, regional plans will be prepared by specifying zones or areas.
In the third phase, regional plans will be prepared by specifying zones or areas. Preparation of action plans including product development planning, financing and investment strategies and determination of marketing and promotional strategies. Apart from this, there are also plans to launch fairs, festivals, carnivals, cultural events, branding, social media campaigns, video production, digital screen exhibitions and ocean tourism as private initiatives.
Bangladesh Tourism Corporation is working as one of the collaborators in the development of this master plan. Chairman of Tourism Corporation said. Ali Kadam told, “According to my knowledge, the work of the master plan has progressed a long way.” After its preparation, the National Tourism Council will finalize the master plan in coordination with the stakeholders. If it is implemented, there will be a revolution in the tourism sector of the country.
State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali said that this master plan is being formulated to take forward the country’s tourism industry in a planned manner. He said that the preparation of this master plan will be completed in December this year. Tourism in the country will enter a new era through the implementation of the Tourism Master Plan.
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