S.N. MurshedManzur (Mahbub) President, Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh & Chairman, Sureswar Group By: Raju Alim

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Tourism plays an important role in the international level especially in the field of Bangladesh branding. As a president of ATAB, please let us know how do we highlight tourism to the rest of the world?

S.N MurshedManzur: you know that Bangladesh’s government is working very hard to expand the tourism industry. To achieve this target, our honorable Prime Minister has opened the Bangladesh Tourism Board in 2010. Bangladesh is highlighted through those events organized in Europe, America, Japan, and other countries in the association with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Bangladesh Tourism Board and tour operators.

How many tour operator firms are currently working?

S.N MurshedManzur: it’s not so many. We’ve only 300 tour operators currently operating and there are about 3000 ATAB members in our country. There are about 450/500 firms that provide inbound services. Everyone cannot participate in a single event. There is an event calendar on behalf of the Bangladesh government and everything is predetermined. We also invite foreign tour operators to exchange views, to inform our tourist spots and what facilities we’ve. We highlighted those issues. We also carry out our tour operators in those events and try to represent Bangladesh through their presentation. In this way we try to inspire foreign tourists to visit our country.

There are many developing projects currently running in Bangladesh. Foreign tourists also visit Bangladesh to see those projects, what do you think?

S.N MurshedManzur: everything is correlated.  Our infrastructure development is helping to get shape tourism business. We hope that the tourism industry will not lag behind than the RMG sector in the recent future based on those developing projects. There will be a balance.

How do we grow skills in hospitality and tourism to attract more tourists? There was a target of having 10 lakh tourists and our growth was about 11%. How do we increase it more?

S.N MurshedManzur: It was in good position until April. We hoped to end this year successfully. We’re still hopeful and working on that target. If I say about skill-I say that our population is our strength. If we can grow their skills to work both in-country and abroad, our country will change dramatically. In that case, we’ve to develop technically. Doing so, ATAB has its own training institute. We have an instructor to train in tourism, aviation, how to give reservation and how to handling. We operate a diploma course on those issues. There is a scope of skill manpower development under Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation but there is no vast scope to train huge people. Once there was a scope of training about 15 people in a single classroom. Still, it is happening into the same place but our demand increased so far. So the government should think about this issue.

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