Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, Chairman, Adcomm Ltd says

Bangladesh lagging behind in promoting, utilising its tourism jewels

- Tanvir Shams01 Jan, 2020 | 938 Views|-+
Bangladesh is far behind in promoting and utilising its tourism jewels to the world and more effort is imperative for the betterment of the tourism industry.

Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, Chairman, Adcomm Ltd and Co-owner of Nazimgarh Resorts in Sylhet said this while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor at her office recently in the city.

"There are certain negative stereotypical impressions regarding Bangladeshis. For instance, many are not even aware that Bangladeshis can speak English," Geeteara said. This comes as a psychological hurdle to foreigners making them feel like it would be difficult for them to communicate with people here during their visit.

Also, the government does not easily allow the stakeholders to do necessary construction works for better connectivity, comfort and entertainment activities for guests in their properties. For example, Geeteara explained it was very difficult to convince the government for allowing them to make a dock for boats in the Shari River adjacent to her resort for offering boat cruises, canoeing and kayaking to tourists.

They even faced issues with the government during tree plantation since Nazimgarh offers a relaxing getaway amid nature.

"These issues make it complicated to offer new things to tourists," said Geeteara.

Visit Bangladesh before tourists come

The popular slogan that we saw decades ago in banners and posters of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in an effort to promote the country's tourism was actually the brainchild of Geeteara Safiya Choudhury.

A long time ago, when she first visited Cox's Bazar, she had an amazing experience, Geeteara mentioned. Since the tourist destination was not too much crowded back in those days, it was more peaceful and relaxing. From there, an idea popped up in her head. She took a pen and paper and drew a beach chair. Above it, she wrote "Visit Bangladesh Before Tourists Come".

She took the idea to the then Chairman of Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. Together, they put such posters promoting beautiful travel destinations of Bangladesh with that tagline in every embassy and Bengali restaurants all over the world. Eventually, this led to a sudden influx of inbound tourists in Bangladesh.

Unplanned tourism development

Unfortunately, the little tourism development that takes place, is totally unplanned, claimed Geeteara.

"Tourism does not only mean opening up new hotels one after another. It has to be planned and proper. You need to develop the essential additional factors as well such as infrastructure, entertainment activities, convenient connectivity, security and others."

She also suggested to promote the country's heritage and culture, making them tourism products too. "For instance, we can promote our delicious local culinary items of Old Dhaka offering gastronomic tourism to travellers. Foreigners adore them."

"We can also arrange trips to Panam City, Sonargaon, Jamdani Palli and many other heritage sites." This requires bringing a solution to the country's biggest suffering - traffic. Due to which, the government and private organisations are not being able to arrange city tours.

All over the world, river or waterfront is a money earning machine. "We have the beautiful Buriganga and yet we are abusing it rather than utilising."

Shopping is another important activity that tourists love to do. "Our traditional muslin and Jamdani can play pivotal roles here," she added.

Moreover, for eligible manpower, Geeteara expressed the idea to educate, train and raise orphans. This will allow the country to make a productive workforce out of them when they are of age.

Nazimgarh Resorts

Geeteara Safiya Choudhury and her husband Nazim Kamran Choudhury, former Member of Parliament, own the renowned Nazimgarh Resorts in Sylhet.

It is a premier hotel and resort destination of Bangladesh. It's different than other properties in the northeast district of Sylhet which offers guests to stay in tea garden, forest and other adventurous locations amid nature.

The 'Garden Resort' is ideally located amidst nature just seven kilometers from the center of Sylhet City. The 'Wilderness' is located at Lalakhal, about 45 kilometers from Sylhet City at the base of the Meghalaya Hills. Surrounded by hills, mountains and river, it is a magical location that delights every visitor.

The Resort locations offer a multitude of activities including Boat Cruise, Canoeing and Kayaking, Trekking, ATV riding, Cycling, Team Building exercises, Camp Fires, Zorb Balling, Archery, Outdoor Cooking, Sight Seeing and much more.