Tourists from Bangladesh tops Indian inbound, still growing

_A Monitor Report01 Aug, 2019 | 2364 Views|-+
Kolkata : Bangladeshi tourists outnumber European and other tourists in India. India is also the top source market for Bangladesh. One in every five tourists to India is from Bangladesh.

This was revealed at the recently concluded TTF Kolkata. A panel discussion titled "How Bangladeshi Tourists Outnumbered European Travellers to India (and Indian Tourists to Bangladesh did as well?)" took place at TTF Forum.

Taufiq Rahman, Chief Executive and Owner of Journey Plus; Syed Shafat Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director of Market n-Trance; Mohiuddin Helal, Chief Executive Officer of River and Green Tours joined the panel as speakers. June Mukherjee, Senior Journalist and Head of India Outbound magazine of Media India Group moderated the knowledge panel, which was attended by more than 150 travel agents as well as media.

The panel opened with presentation of facts and figures concerning India-Bangladesh tourism ties. The discussion touched upon many relevant areas of concern, prominently addressing the - visa regulation and processing issues.

Way ahead

According to India Tourism Statistics 2018 published by the ministry of tourism, in 2017 India received 10.04 million foreign tourists for the first time, where Bangladesh accounted for 21 pc arrivals with 2.16 million tourists.

The total number of tourists that flocked to India from Bangladesh was even higher than the number of total tourists who arrived in India from all Western European countries. India receives the highest number of tourist visitors from Bangladesh via Haridaspur Land Check Post.

The other top sourcing countries in India in 2017 were United States of America (13.72 pc), United Kingdom (9.83 pc), Canada (3.34 pc), Australia (3.23 pc), Malaysia (3.21 pc), Sri Lanka (3.03 pc), Russian Federation (2.78 pc), Germany (2.68 pc) and France (2.49 pc).

Most of the Bangladeshi tourists travel to India for holiday and recreation purposes. Around 83.7 pc of travellers visit India for leisure holiday and recreation, whereas 10.28 pc come for medical purposes and 4.66 pc travellers visit for business and professional reasons.

India and Bangladesh are well connected through rail, road, river and air and have taken further measures to improve it. The most preferred mode of travel for nationals from Bangladesh in 2017 was land (85.6 pc), of which road accounted for 72.9 pc and rail accounted for 12.7 pc, followed by air route 14.4 pc.

However, it is not just India that is seeing a gush of Bangladeshi tourists but the same is true the other way around as Bangladesh receives a majority of its international tourists from India. However, the number is small in comparison.

Targeting Bengal

Bangladesh and West Bengal in India have common bonds, as they not only share the same language but they also have the same cuisine, culture, festivities and much more.

While speaking to Media India Group, Taufiq Rahman, highlighted the ties between Bangladesh and West Bengal and said there exist strong bond between people of Bangladesh and West Bengal because of geographical proximity, language, the similarity in culture and cuisine.

Md Mohiuddin Helal, CEO, River and Green Tours spoke about how Bangladesh is planning to target tourists from West Bengal and said that the people from West Bengal are visiting Bangladesh because of the similar festivals and for their roots. He urged the governments to take more initiative in this regard.

The main focus of Bangladesh at present is only on West Bengal said Syed Shafat Uddin Ahmed Tomal, Managing Director of Market n-Trance Ltd.

Anjana Khan Mojlish, Deputy Secretary of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry of Bangladesh, while talking to India Outbound, said that Bangladesh is planning to highlight the natural beauty in the country to attract tourists.

Promoting MICE and luxury segment

Tour operators in Bangladesh are now focusing on how to target the newly booming sector, that is, the MICE and luxury segment.

"Over the last couple of years, Bangladesh got many luxury resorts around the country, especially in Cox's Bazar. Private investors are investing a lot in MICE and in Dhaka, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, we have our convention centre to attract MICE segments. Bangladesh Tourism is also focusing on this segment, as it will be very beneficial for our economy as well. Things have started but we still have a long way to go," says Taufiq.

According to data reports, about 70 pc of tourists prefer visiting Cox's Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracts, followed by Sundarbans and Sylhet.

Further ties

The travel operators from Bangladesh are now planning to tap the other cities in India apart from West Bengal. We are trying to tap the foreign tourists that are travelling to India through extension of their trip to visit Bangladesh Taufiq said and added "If we can prepare a joint itinerary, like the Sundarbans that is there in both the countries and offer a complete package which includes West Bengal and Bangladesh, both the countries will be benefited."

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