Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) could not contribute to the country's tourism sector at an expected level even after 50 years of independence due to unstable leadership, lack of specific goals and initiatives to achieve those, tourism experts said.
The corporation, established in 1972, set the goal to make Bangladesh an attractive tourist destination which never happened during the 50-year journey, said tourism stakeholders.
"Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation started its journey as the national tourism organization once as part of Pakistan Tourism Corporation (PTC). However, they failed to contribute to further the country's tourism at an expected level in 50 years," Shahid Hamid, chairman, Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata), Bangladesh Chapter, told TBS.
He also said that after establishing the Bangladesh Tourism Board in 2010 which focused on branding and promotion of countries' tourism sector, the BPC has squeezed its activities further and mainly focused on the commercial operation. The frequent leadership changes including the Chairman of the corporation is one of the reasons behind the poor performance, he added.
Shahid Hamid observed while talking to TBS as the BPC is celebrating 50 Years of its Journey.
A programme was held Saturday in this regard at Parjatan Bhaban at Agargaon in the city.
State minister for tourism Mahbub Ali was present as the chief guest at the programme.
Though the country's domestic tourism boomed in the last decade, Bangladesh still is not a popular destination for foreign tourists, stakeholders present at the programme noted.
They called upon the BPC for widening the range of its role to create a tourist-friendly atmosphere.
"Although foreign tourists do not visit Bangladesh, we are doing fairly well in domestic tourism where BPC has a positive role," said Rafeuzzaman, president of Tour Operators' Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) at the event.
He explained that BPC has several hotels, motels, and restaurants across the country. They provide services and foods at a cheaper rate for which private sector hotels, restaurants cannot increase their prices.
More than one crore domestic tourists visit various destinations of the country every year, according to BPC.
However, only 3.2 lakh foreign visitors came to Bangladesh in 2019.
There are hotels, motels, cottages, restaurants, picnic spots, rent-a-car and holiday packages, National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI) and duty-free operations (DFO) under the BPC.
In his speech, Mahbub Ali told the programme on Saturday that during the past 50 years, BPC has established hotels, motels, restaurants, DFOs, resorts, training institutes at major and attractive tourist sites to serve the tourists with standard accommodation, food and other tourism services. Besides, BPC has a significant contribution to the making of Cox's Bazar and other tourism destinations through these years.
Terming the rape incident in Cox's Bazar as condemnable, Mahbub Ali however assured that this would not have any impact on tourism.
According to the tourism ministry data, BPC spent over Tk284 crore to implement 20 projects in the last 12 years while another 12 projects worth Tk335 crore are currently underway as part of the important initiatives of the government.