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D e s ti n ati o n

Beautiful Bangladesh! The land of Royal
Bengal Tigers and the greatest mangrove
forest of the world. Visit the Sandwip
Island, a former pirate stronghold, or
Srimangal with miles of tea gardens. Visit the heaven of eco-tourists!

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

History and Natural Beauty

angladesh is located in the north-eastern part

of South Asia. The majestic Himalayas stand
some distance to the north, while in the south lays
the Bay of Bengal. There is West Bengal border
on the west and in the east lie the hilly and forested regions of Tripura, Mizoram (India) and Myan-

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mar. These picturesque geographical boundaries

frame a low lying plain of about 1,47,570 square
kilometer criss-crossed by innumerable rivers and
streams. Mighty rivers are the Padma (Ganges),
the Brahmaputra (Jamuna) & the Meghna and the


Bangladesh offers many tourist attractions, including archaeological sites, historical mosques
and monuments, longest natural beach in the world,
picturesque landscape, hill forests and wildlife, rolling tea gardens and tribes. As much of the country
has been relatively untouched by modern technol-

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

In 2008 Bangladesh drew over 400,000 tourists
compared to 2007 when there were 200,000 visitors.
The prime tourist attractions in Bangladesh include the Sundarbans (the worlds largest natural
mangrove forest), Coxs Bazaar and the capital city
Bangladesh has three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Historic Mosque City of
Bagerhat, Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, and The Sundarbans (1997).

ogy and development, tourists find the rich flora

and fauna and colorful tribal life very enchanting.
Each part of the country offers distinctly different topography, flavors and food. It is home to the Royal
Bengal Tigers, freshwater pink dolphins, historical
temples made of red earth.
Some of the better known tourist attractions are:
Srimangal, where miles of tea gardens are located,

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Mainamati, Mahasthangarh, Paharpur for archaeology, Rangamati, Kaptai and Cox's Bazar for sight
seeing, and the Sundarbans for wild life and the
greatest mangrove forest of the world, as well as
Foy's Lake for scenic beauty.
Photos: TR, Flickr


Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

Euromonitor International:
Travel and Tourism in Bangladesh
extensive damage to the country and had an obvious negative effect on tourism, especially since
most of the infrastructure in the coastal areas was
destroyed in the cyclone.

Poor International Image Dampens

Prospects for Immediate Recovery
Unfortunately, tourism is one of the most neglected markets in Bangladesh. The Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness Report 2009 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Bangladesh as 129th
amongst 133 countries. The lack of government
support has resulted in poor infrastructure such

Unstable Political Situation Deters

Political unrest and the adverse security situation
within Bangladesh deterred both domestic as well
as foreign tourists from exploring the country. International tourists feared going to a country with
political uncertainty, and even local tourists found
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it safer to venture abroad for tourism, rather than

explore Bangladesh.

Natural Disasters Add to Woes

Two spells of devastating floods in July and September 2007 were followed by the country's worst
cyclone, Sidr, in November 2007. These caused


TOP 10 Source Countries

for Bangladesh Tourism
(000 people)

Arrivals from India
Other countries of origin
Arrivals from United Kingdom
Arrivals from USA
Arrivals from China
Arrivals from Nepal
Arrivals from Japan
Arrivals from South Korea
Arrivals from Canada
Arrivals from Pakistan
2009 Eurom onitor Inter n at i on a l


Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

Bangladesh Accommodation


2007 2008
Travel accommodation


2008 2010 2012





Other travel accommodation





2009 Eurom onitor Inter n at i on a l

Local Tourists Venture Outwards Instead of Exploring Their Own Country

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2009 Eurom onitor Inter n at i on a l

as the poor condition of transport and power. The

airline sector has also negatively affected tourism
due to limited flights, inefficiency at the airports and
flight delays. Local travel is hampered by lack of
amenities on the highways, as well as poor road

Outbound travel far exceeds inbound travel in

Bangladesh. Increasing disposable incomes led
Bangladeshis to explore long haul destinations
both for leisure trips and business. Religious trips
and medical tourism are also strong reasons for
The prime tourist attractions in Bangladesh include the Sundarbans, Cox's Bazaar and the
capital city Dhaka. Despite the presence of some
premier Buddhist sites, as well as unexplored ecotourism potential, the poor image of tourism has
led to limited awareness of these unexplored tourist attractions. In addition, tourism is seasonal in
Bangladesh, with about 25% of arrivals being in the
months of December and January. There is also a
lack of campaigns to encourage travel outside peak

Travel Online Sales

Eco-tourism Is a Buzzword
Eco-tourists are increasing exponentially
worldwide. Therefore, the Bangladesh government has been seriously looking at exploring
eco-tourism; taking advantage of the presence
of the world's largest natural mangrove forest,
the Sundarbans.
Adequate water transport and accommodation
facilities in the forests are to be created to attract
local and foreign tourists; with adequate facilities


and opportunities, there is immense potential for

the Sundarbans and other rural areas for earning
through tourism. Tourism in Bangladesh has the
potential to spur overall economic development
of the country and result in: growth of the Gross
Domestic Product; human resource development;
poverty alleviation through development of rural
livelihood and employment of women; even promotion of local cuisine.
It requires extensive preparation with a huge
financial backup. It is possible for Bangladesh
to use tourism development as an integral tool
for economic progress, provided that the necessary infrastructure is put in place. With the realisation of tourism's multi-dimensional potential,
including balance of payments, economy diversification, revenue expansion and direct and indirect employment opportunities, it makes perfect
sense for Bangladesh to give its tourism industry
top priority.
(Extract from Euromonitor Internationals report Travel and
Tourism in Bangladesh)
Photos: Ambdhaka

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

The Sundarbans: Worlds Largest

Mangrove Ecosystem
economic activities, such as extraction of timber,
fishing and collection of honey. The area of Sundarban experiences a subtropical monsoonal climate with an annual rainfall of 1600-1800 mm and
severe cyclonic storms. Enormous amount of sediments carried by the three rivers contribute to its
expansion and dynamics.
Salinity gradients change over a wide range of
spatial and temporal scales. Interestingly, the Bangladesh and Indian portion of the forest are listed
in the UNESCO world heritage list separately as
the Sundarbans, i.e. the beautiful forest, and Sundarban National Park respectively, though they are
simply parts of the same forest.
The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands
of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an
excellent example of ongoing ecological processes.


Sundarbans, covering about one million

ha in the delta of the rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna at the point where it merges
with the Bay of Bengal, is the single largest block of
tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world shared

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between Bangladesh (62%) and India (38%), which

supports a large, biodiversity-rich unique ecosystem.
With its array of trees and wildlife the forest is a
showpiece of natural history. It is also a center of


Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

The area is known for its wide range of flora and

fauna. The most famous among these are the maneating Royal Bengal Tigers, but numerous species
of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes also
inhabit it. The mangroves have been extensively
exploited over centuries for timber, fish and prawns,
honey, fodder, or converted for paddy and aquaculture and now it faces the serious challenges for its
Javan rhino, wild buffalo, hog deer, and barking deer are already extinct from the area. While
conservation efforts have focused on wildlife, parS e ptemb er, 2 0 0 9

ticularly tiger, through creation of several sanctuaries and a biosphere reserve, reduced freshwater inflows are a serious threat as salinity is rising.
Heritiera fomes (from which Sundarban derives its
name), Nypa fruticans and Phoenix paludosa are
declining rapidly. Other threats to biodiversity come
from the growing human population, pollution, and
a rise in sea level.
By Md. Saidur Rahman


Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

SWOT Analysis of the

Bangladeshi Tourism Sector


Bangladeshi middle and high class and the expatriated community. Inbound tourism registration exist
for the period 1996-2005. Average number of inbound tourists in the period was 203.015 tourists.
The lowest number of inbound tourists was 165.887
tourists recorded in 1996, the highest was 271.270
tourists in 2004.

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What is the current level of patronage, and

how does this compare with past trends?
Tourists in Bangladesh are inbound tourists, Bangladeshi middle and high class or expats. There
is a lack of knowledge about demand in the Bangladeshi tourism business, particular regarding the

What products are accentually and potentially

Due to historical isolation Bangladeshi culture
and history is distinct from many countries. Bangladesh offers a variety of natural and cultural tourist
destinations, some on the UNESCO Heritage List.
The national transport, whether it is by air, land or
water, is cheap although the existing slow transportation by road, rail and water can be an adventure
with the right positive attitude.
A variety of tourist accommodation facilities are
offered in rural and urban Bangladesh. Most investment has been done in the business related
tourism and the metropolitan cities. Bangladesh
is concerned with safeguarding a heritage damaged by increased salinity and climate change.
Nevertheless sustainable commercial use of these
resources is often low, which affects the standard
for preservation, development and level of international appeal.
Bangladesh is a fairly new and rarely visited inbound tourist destination, which can attract an
adventure searching tourist market. The world image of Bangladesh can be inspired by several new
sustainable tourist attractions to increase the understanding of the countrys history and developing challenges. The interest in the effects of global
warming can affect the inbound travel market in
Bangladesh, as the country is one of the 10 countries most vulnerable to a rise in sea level.
The tourism potential in Bangladesh can be developed through implementation of multilateral and

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

inter-regional projects or co-operation with foreign
travel companies.
Who are the customers, and how are they
Bangladesh attracts inbound tourists from many
countries; several pull-factors are expected and the
tourist activity is spread throughout the year. South
Asia and Europe are the larges inbound regions and
India, UK and USA are the largest inbound countries.
Local travel market is part of the growing urban population, which lives similarly to their Western counterparts. 12 million passport holders and a decrease
in annual working days since 2005 are estimated to
have a positive effect on the local travel market.
Expatriated Bangladeshis represent a word of
mouth access to several potential national target
markets. Moving back to their native country some
of them also represent a valuable skilled workforce in the tourism sector. The urban expatriated
community in Bangladesh represents a variety of
nationalities. The average years of stay are between 2-5 years.
What are the activities and behavior of the
In terms of existing tourist products, both inbound
and home market, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong and
Khulna Division are the main tourist divisions. Sundarbarns, Cox Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracks
are some of the most popular tourist destinations.
To what extent are costumers satisfied with the
available products?
Several travel experienced expats argue that the
best experiences in Bangladesh are to be found
outside Dhaka.
What are the available financial and human
The tourism industry has low construction, running and salary expenses. Labor force is reliable
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and abundant. English is commonly used by the

tourism industry. The national aviation industry are
expanding, as the Bangladeshi aviation industry
followed the globally growth rate in 2007.


What products are available?

Several factors, e.g. amount of garbage and the
condition of several attractions, indicate that the
existing tourism business is not sustainable. The
accessibility to tourist destinations and accommodations is negatively affected by non-availability
of adequate infrastructure, including domestic and
international transportation. Existing beach life,


Bangladeshi style, includes mud flats destinations

loathed during high season. This can not be sold as
a typical western mass tourism destination.
The existing low inbound tourism demand indicates that fundamental product and promotion improvement is required. Tourism products should relate to the fact that Bangladesh is a modern Muslim
society and a densely populated developing country, which has been historically isolated. Sustainable tourism product is one such solution. Tourists,
especially inbound tourists, need a guide or high
level of knowledge to travel safely and responsibly
(culture and nature awareness) in Bangladesh.
To what extent are costumers satisfied with
the available products?
Several tourist products do not live up to a western concept of quality and service. Travelling time
and safety are relevant obstacles to the local expat
target market. Social insecurity: Local people do
not have experience with tourists, so visitors sometime feel uneasy in some places. Several expats,
who have no experience with urban Bangladesh,
base their perception of rural Bangladesh on their
impressions of the capital city.
What are the available financial and human
The Bangladeshi level of investments in travel &
tourism is not exceptional, compared with regional
and worldwide annual investment. The tourism industry is vulnerable due to a short high season and
a large local market share. There is a lack of educated staff. The tourism industry is still quite young
in Bangladesh, and its development has been
predominantly left to the local market forces. The
tourism development is largely uncontrolled as no
marketing or developing policy exists, in spite of the
fact that the Bangladeshi government and private
tourist sector are represented by several organisations (Parjatan and TOAB).

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

There is a lack of knowledge about the demand,
supply and competitors in the Bangladeshi tourism business. There is a low level of co-operation
and innovation in the tourism sector. Tourism industry lacks marketing professionalism, which is
severely crippling the industrys inbound tourism
growth. In the home market every company is
generally on their own when they want to promote the destination. It is expensive and ineffective for local operators to reach the worldwide
market at the current time. The inbound tourism
marketing is primarily preformed by few foreign
tour operators. This fact indicates that the Bangladeshi tour operators are losing income to their
foreign competitors.

Inbound travel pattern to nearby tourist countries correspond to the best travel season in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has a strategic stopover
position in the region to the largest inbound tourist destination in the region, India, as well as two
prominent world ecotourism destination, Nepal
and Bhutan.

Infrastructural development is required; especially the state of the roads and rails is a significant
obstacle for the tourism sector. Technological development is also required.
The climatic changes through out the year (and in
the future) have considerable implications for travelling in Bangladesh since the country occasionally
experiences harsh storms, floods and earthquakes.
The country also has a worldwide image of poor
land with numerous natural catastrophes and corruption.
The national tourism sector is negatively affected
by the lack of social and political commitment. The
preservation of natural and historical attractions is
just one of the challenges that the Bangladeshi society has to face.

Bangladesh is a democratic Muslim state more
interested in national development challenges than
in the conflicts between the Western and Muslim
world. The country embraces liberal democracy,
has a generally homogeneous society and one
dominant religion. The interim government provides travellers with a form of relative stability while
fighting corruption and bureaucratic procedures.
Despite some unfathomable hindrances national
economy is improving and the country is showing positive development. The seasonal weather
is relatively stable; especially the cold season is
comfortable for travelling. The population speaks
Bangla and English the latter by the well educated urban people. Strong linguistic, cultural and

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historical connections exist to England, Pakistan

and India.
The number of tourists in Bangladesh is estimated to increase due to generally growing local, regional and world tourism travel activities. Responsible tourism is a growing world market niche.


(Excerpt from Introduction to the tourism industry in Bangladesh by Majbritt Thomson)

Photos: Ambdhaka

Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

Discover the Hidden Treasures

of Sandwip Island
land. The entire island is 50 kilometers long and
5-15 kilometers wide.
Sandwip Island in Bangladesh has a great historical legacy. The island itself is about 3000 years
old and it has been ruled by many different people
over the centuries, including Delwar Khan. It was a
Portuguese and Arakanese pirate stronghold during the 17th century and even today some of the
architecture on the island reflects this part of the
islands history.
However, the governor of Bengal saw fit to put
an end to this in 1665 as part of attempts to stop
his people from being misled by the wild fancies
of these unreligious and thieving individuals. Under
British rule its location proved to be a bit of an administrative problem. Today it is well and truly a part
of Bangladesh. It is not very developed, but where
it is developed you may see remnants of its interesting past.

andwip Island may not be everybodys idea of

a great holiday destination but the more adventurous might want to seek it out and discover
its many hidden treasures. The island is located
in southeastern Bangladesh and is quite different
from other parts of the country.
So how exactly is this island different from other parts of the country? For starters, it is an island so it has been more or less separated from

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mainland Bangladesh for many years even if

inhabitants could use a boat to travel between
the island and the mainland. What makes it especially unique is that this is not a coastal island
it is a river island that is situated in the Meghna
River estuary. Despite its location the island is
so big that it is home to almost 400 000 people!
There are also as many as fifteen different wards,
62 mahallas and 34 villages on Sandwip Is-


Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

One of the nice things about Sandwip Island in

Bangladesh is that it has been formed by silt deposits from the Meghna river. This makes it an incredibly fertile island something which the people
of the island have been exploiting for years. Large
crops of rice, dal, vegetables, coconuts, battle
leave and wheat have all been grown on the island
at some point in its history. Today the main crops
are melons, mangos, pineapples, gaab, jam, coco-

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nut and various crops. Sandwip has also gained a

reputation for being a premier ship manufacturer.
There are a lot of different things to see on this incredible little island why not visit it and discover
them for yourself?
Photos: Ambdhaka


I n b o u n d T o u r O p e r a t o r s Desti nation : B ang l ad e sh

A. B TOURS Bangladesh
18, Rajhuk Avenue , 3rd Floor, Lal Bhaban, Motijheel, Dhaka 1000.


G&A Market (Gr. Floor), 13/1, Paribagh Sonargaon Road, Dhaka -1000


House # 25, 1st Floor, Road # 4, Block # F, Banani, Dhaka 1213


House # I A, Road# 68/ A, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212


Al-haj Shamsuddin Mansion(9th Floor), 17 (280 Old) New Eskaton Rood,
Mogh Bazar, Dhaka 1000

HOTEL SUFIA INTERNATIONAL Bangladesh | Khthaltali, Rangamati

House# 146, Room# 2, Block #A, Section # 12, Pallabi, Dhaka 1216

ADVENTURE CLUB Bangladesh | 75, HMM Road, Jessore

IMPERIAL HOTEL INTERNATIONAL Bangladesh | 33, Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka 1000

AL-GAZI TRAVEL LTD. Bangladesh | 8/2, North South Road, Purana Paltan, Dhaka 1000


10-11, Surma Super Market, Airport Road Ambagkhanam, Sylhet 3100


Hotel Victory Building (13th floor), 30/A, Naya Paltan, V.I.P Road, Ramna, Dhaka


House # 40, Road # 3, Sector # 13, Uttara Dhaka -1230


1557 Hajipara, Singapore Market, (5th floor), Room # 609, 610, Chittagong


1, Azimpur Natun Paltan, Dhaka 1205


House# 28, Road# 3, Sector#4 Uttara Model Town, Dhaka 1230

MUSA OVERSEAS EXPRESS Bangladesh | Dargah Gate, Sylhet

Room# 506, 4ffi Floor, Motaleb Mansion 2, R.K. Mission Road, Dhaka 1203

BANGLADESH ECOTOURS Bangladesh | 263, Jubilee Road, Tinpol, Chittagong-4000

Marine Drive, Kolatoli New Beach, Cox's Bazar


M.R. Center (6th Floor), House-49, Road-17, Banani C/A, Dhaka -1213


13/A, Planner Tower, Suit # 14, Floor # 13, Sonargaon Road, Dhaka 1000,


Sylhet Road, Kamalpur Bazar, Moulvibazar 3200


332, Free School Stree, Sonargaon Road Hatirpool, Dhaka 1205

SUNDARBAN TOURISM PLUS Bangladesh | 299/3, Sonargaon Road, Dhaka 1205

204, Shohid Syed Nazrullslam Sarani, Aziz Co-operative Market (Gr. floor), Room #
31-32-33, Bijoynagar, Dhaka 1000


House # 20, Road-12, Sector-1 (Ground floor), Uttara Model Town, Dhaka 1230
Hotel Farooq (3rd floor), 174 Nawabpur Road , Dhaka 1100


Crescent Centre (3rd floor), 36, Topkhana Road, Dhaka

CENTRAL TRAVELS Bangladesh | 154, Motijheel C/A (Near WAPDA), Dhaka l000

TRAVEL POINT Bangladesh | 13, New circular Road, West Malibagh, Dhaka 1217

GENESIS Bangladesh
Hotel Raj Complex, 154, Kazi Nazrul Islam Road, Sadargahat, Chittagong 4000

VISIT BANGLA Bangladesh | 139, Bara Moghbazar, Dhaka 1217

5, Hossain Shaheed Suhrawardi Road, Chittagong


Hotel Farooq, 172, Nawabpur Road, Dhaka 1000

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