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Parjatan corp a dumping ground of bureaucrats

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mir Mohammad Nasiruddin yesterday blasted the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) saying it has become a dumping ground of bureaucrats.

He said bureaucrats get posted to the corporation just six months before going to leave prior to retirement (LPR) who fail to bring any dynamism in the sector.

The minister said such frustrating performance of the BPC continues despite declaration of the tourism as a thrust sector.

The minister made the observations while speaking at a Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised seminar on 'Development of Tourism Industry in Bangladesh' in Dhaka.

The minister said president of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) had to visit Bangladesh Embassy in Bangkok three times to obtain a visa. "But policymakers from Dhaka had to intervene to arrange visa for PATA president," the minister said.

He said motels operated by the BPC were turned into boarding houses where no gentleman can spend a night happily.

Pointing to the high cost of services here, Nasiruddin said a tourist has to pay US$165 to stay a night at a five-star hotel in Bangladesh while they spend between US$60 and US$70 a night for staying in Malaysia. "Presently we are at the same place where we were 32 years ago."

Acknowledging harassment at the airport, the minister said his ministry alone can do little to solve the problem.

FBCCI President Abdul Awal Mintoo said Bangladesh is at the bottom of the list of SAARC countries in terms of tourism development. "Number of tourists coming to Bangladesh is far less than that of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal or Pakistan."

Abdul Mannan, former state minister for civil aviation and tourism and also chairman of PATA Bangladesh chapter, said there is lack of policy support from government.

Sadique Ahsan, president of Bangladesh Hotel and Guest House Owners Association, said there is hardly any concession or incentive for the tourism sector in general.

Md Faridul Haque, president of Tour Operators' Association of Bangladesh, said air-conditioned tourist buses, cruise vessels and international standard residential hotels are needed in the main tourism spots in Bangladesh in order to improve the services for the foreign tourists and attract them.

Khurshid Ali Mollah, chairman of FBCCI standing committee on tourism and hotel said in order to increase investment in the tourism sector the government should take steps so that private sector can get loans easily at lower rates.

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