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     Volume 5 Issue 114 | September 29, 2006 |

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Travel and Tourism
Syeda Shamin Mortada


Cox's Bazar; Photo: Imran H Khan

Whenever we need a break from the hectic and mundane life, especially when school holidays are approaching or when we are desperately in need of relaxation and recreation, most of us think about enjoying a happy holiday. We storm our brains, converse and get confused on where to spend these priceless days. India, Malaysia, Kunming (China) seem to top the chart in the long list of holiday spots. But wouldn't it be better if we visited and showed our children the beauty of our own land and best if we could persuade people from other countries to come and visit us?

Bangladesh can turn out to be a favourite tourist spot for adventure-seekers and beauty-lovers all over the world. Therefore, the next time you think about going abroad to spend vacations, make sure you have experienced the magnificence and grandeur of your own country first.

You can start off with the tourist capital, the captivating Cox's Bazaar. The world's longest natural beach which gently slopes down towards the beautiful Bay of Bengal is a must-visit place for the sand and sun worshippers. Near the periphery of Cox's Bazaar are the dreamlands like Teknaf situated on the Naaf River at the southern most tip of the mainland, and Moheshkhali and Sonadia, the deltaic islands. Then there are the beauties like Himchhari, Inani, Ramu and the likes which will mesmerise and stun those who dare behold them. How can one not mention the charismatic coral island, St. Martins Island? If you are looking for peace and serenity this small island is meant and made especially for you.

Talking about water and waves one just cannot leave out the beauty of the Sagar Kanya (Daughter of the Sea) or Kuakata. This rare and remote beach where one can witness the rising and setting of the sun is sure to win your heart and soul.

Before all the water and sand turns you into a mermaid, make sure you visit the land of the largest littoral mangrove belt and the realm of the royal Bengals, the Sundarbans. The main attractions here include Hiron Point, Katka,
Dubla Char and Kona Island as well as many more.

Photo: Syed Zakir Hussain

The vast area which needs to be discovered and rediscovered and can be turned into a hot tourist spot is the Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. This is the place for nature and adventure seekers, where one can drown in the serene atmosphere and befriend the tribal people at the same time. If you have decided to visit the Hills, make sure the trip includes places like Khagrachhari, Rangamati, Bandarban and Kaptai.

Every nook and corner of our country is filled with such places, some are popular for their beauty, some for their history, others for architecture, art, culture, religion… the list is endless.

We have it all, we just need a little bit of flaunting, that's it. Our country is like a sleeping beauty which needs to be kissed and awakened to the outer world. And if this can be done, our economy can significantly bene fit, because tourism is one of the world's largest industry and the fastest growing one too. Easier said than done! A lot of things have to be done first and fast.

Not even a single area of our country has been fully exploited for tourism. First and foremost we require more private tourist sectors to develop; there should be a huge expansion of the tourism sector. The security of the tourists is an important factor. Communication and transport needs to be improved. Appropriate lodging, hygienic food and supply of clean water are necessities. The set-up of dependable hospitals and clinics in case of emergency are essential.

Sheer peace and beauty is not enough to attract foreign tourists. They need recreation, adventure and excitement. Construction of amusement parks, eco parks, open zoos, wildlife conservation centres, botanical gardens, day or night museums, conservation and promotion centres of our vast heritage, Nature Park, fresh water aquariums and such can be a boost to the business of tourism. Shows that display our lifestyle, culture and lives of the indigenous people can be a major source of attraction. Markets and shops that offer a variety of products and man-made handicrafts can have great appeal too. This way we can advertise and sell our commodities to the locals as well as foreigners.

Entrepreneurs and intellectuals, in short, a team of creative minds can bring about such changes.

But to bring about such positive changes we need to alter the negative aspects that hold our society back. To name a few -- political disturbances, lack of security and corruption need to be dealt with.

The task ahead is huge and hard, but the question is, can we deal with it? Can we dare to dream or are we building castles in the air? This article merely brings about the hope of the nature lovers who love to travel and wish to see their country as a tourist destination. Will their hopes and wishes be fulfilled, will their dreams come true? Well, we will have to wait and see.




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