Economic and Employment Opportunities of Tourism in Bangladesh : A Study on Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation
The New Millennium and the coming decades are very much crucial for the developing countries to achieve sustainable economic growth. Tourism is considered to be a large income generator of the world economy contributing over 10 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For at least one third of the developing countries, the tourism receipts are the main source of export revenue and the tourism industry generates sustainable economic benefits to the developing countries. The exceptional growth of tourism over the last 50 years is going to be one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena of the 21st century. The number of international arrivals shows an evolution from a mere 25 million arrivals in 1950 to the 763 million of 2004 representing an average annual growth rate of more than 7 percent over a period of 50 years – well above the average annual economic growth rate for the same period. Tourism has clearly outperformed all the other sectors of the economy and has grown into the most significant economic activity in the world. The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2007 of World Economic Forum (WEF), which aims to explore the factors and policies driving travel and tourism competitiveness in nations worldwide, has found Bangladesh fourth from the last among 124 countries. Endless neglect to this sector by the successive governments is to blame for the sad situation. Bangladesh has been ranked 120th. Among the neighbors, India is ranked 65th, Sri Lanka 79th, Pakistan 103rd and Nepal 106th. In 2006, the sector generated 10.3 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP), providing 234 million jobs ; or 8.2 percent of total world employment. Tourism has many faces, eco-tourism is one of them. Eco-tourism is comparatively a new term in tourism literature. The term “Eco-tourism” blends “ecology” and “tourism” and covers the scope of tourism that draws upon natural, manmade and cultural environments. Eco-tourism came into prominence in the eighties as a strategy for reconciling conservation with development in ecologically rich areas. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC), the National Tourism Organization of the country was established in 1973. It is of earnest importance to evaluate the role played by the BPC over the last 35 years (1973-2007) for the development of tourism industry in Bangladesh and to find out what are the challenges faced by the BPC to develop the tourism industry in Bangladesh and finally to explore the possibilities of economic and employment opportunities of Bangladesh through tourism. No comprehensive study has so far been done in this regard. The proposed research will attempt to fill up this gap. 2.
Statement of the Problem
The term ‘Tourism’ or ‘Tourist’ was first used as official term in 1937 by the League of Nations. ‘Tourism’ or ‘Tourist’ is a word related to the word ‘tour’ which is derived from the Latin word ‘tornus’ which means a tool for describing a circle or a turner’s wheel. It is from this word, that the notion of a ‘round tour’ or a ‘package tour’ has become popular. Many countries view tourism as part of their development strategy and as an economic alternative to traditional economic sectors such as agriculture and industry. Rapid development in the means of transport and communication has made the world into practically one single neighborhood. There are several benefits from tourism. Tourism plays a sizeable role in national prosperity. The foreign exchange earnings earned by the industry increase foreign exchange reserves and positively affect the balance of payments. Tourism has become the third source of foreign exchange earner, after ready-made garments industry and gems and jewelries. In 2006, the Government of Bangladesh has earned 5000 million taka from this sector. Tourism generates employment opportunities in many...
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