Tourism sector needs massive domestic investment first: Russian envoy

Foreign investors to come only when they see benefits, he says

11 Mar 2017, 17:24


Dhaka: Russian Ambassador in Dhaka Alexander I Ignatov has said Bangladesh’s tourism sector needs “massive investment” to have more contributions to the economy utilising its full potential.

He, however, thinks Bangladeshi investors will have to come forward first in terms of making investment to give the sector a big boost.

“It’s obvious that there’s a need for massive investment in tourism sector - from Bangladeshi side in the first place,” Ambassador Ignatov told UNB in an interview recently.

Responding to a question, he said to compete with tourist destinations like India and Thailand, Bangladesh needs to do its part.

Ignatov said it is necessary to stress that foreign investors will come only when they see benefits. “And Bangladesh has to attract them. You need to develop infrastructure. Your businesspeople need to invest more,” he said.

In addition, he said, the government is expected to provide conditions for foreign investment to come to the tourism sector.

Talking about the popular tourism spots in Bangladesh, the Russian envoy said Cox’s Bazar has a good potential.

“It may repeat the success story of Goa in India where a lot of Russian tourists come and spend their money, thus contributing to the Indian economy. But to make it happen, it’s important to create favourable conditions,” he added.

Sharing his early January visit to Cox’s Bazar, he said he did not feel any danger rather enjoyed his time there at the seaside very much.

“Fresh air makes you feel refreshed. Up to 20 people from the Russian Embassy also went to Cox’s Bazar with me and they were satisfied with the quality of hotel hospitality, food, etc. We even organised a Russian food festival with a Russian chef at one of major hotels there,” he recalled.

While talking to UNB, global tourism expert Alain St Ange said Bangladesh is in one of the most diverse regions and its tourism industry can and should grow.

All around the world, people need to understand that tourism is not just the hotels; it concerns the whole country and its entire infrastructure - from airports to roads, cleanliness and revamping of touristic attractions, he said.

“A lovely country like Bangladesh could work towards a concerted effort to ensure tourism takes its rightful place and benefit every Bangladeshi,” said Alain St Ange, former Minister of Tourism for the Republic of Seychelles.

The government is seeking foreign investment in the tourism sector apart from domestic one to help grow the sector further with an increased employment generation, said an official at the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry.

The official said the government feels a long-term plan is essential to turn Bangladesh’s tourism sector into an international standard one.

According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the contributions of tourism industry to the global economy will increase by many folds in the coming years.

The total number of tourists around the world will stand at 1.6 billion by 2020 with over an income of US$ 2 trillion, a government publication says quoting the UNWTO.