Dhaka: Prior to the lockdown, the government has formed a crisis management committee for the tourism industry following the suggestion of Bangladesh Tourism Board. At a meeting with the ministry on March 23, the tourism board presented specific proposals which included recommendations to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, the Prime Minister recently rolled out a BDT 30 thousand stimulus package for big industries and BDT 20 thousand crore for small and medium enterprises. However, the tourism board is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that no company affected by COVID-19 in the tourism industry misses out on these stimulus packages.
Additional Secretary Jabed Ahmed, CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board said this on April 16 while he attended the first session of the weeklong video conference titled PATA Talk During Lockdown organised by Pacific Asia Travel Association Bangladesh Chapter as the chief guest.
"We are now taking initiatives to form a body with which all affected can communicate. This way none has to run to and fro. The body will take the necessary steps to ensure the stimulus package cover all affected in tourism," the CEO said.
He further mentioned that, jointly with PATA Bangladesh Chapter and TOAB, they have carrier out a loss and damage analysis of the tourism industry and presented it to the concerned ministry to implement required recovery measures.
Also, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh needs to boost its domestic tourism rather than focusing on outbound, because for a certain amount of time the country will be facing tough economic challenge, he urged.
Ahmed claimed that health risks should always be mitigated even in the post COVID-19 era. Overcrowding in destinations is a concerning issue in this regard. Therefore, tourist destinations have to be properly regulated. "One wrong move will throw us 10 years behind."
The purpose of the video conference to be held everyday till April 22 is to come up with findings through discussion between the industry stakeholders and concerned government officials which will be later compiled and proposed as recommendations to the ministry to overcome the unfortunate crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
On it, Ahmed said, "After the weeklong discussions we will be able to conclude essential recommendations that will pave the way for progress in the difficult coming days."
Lastly, Jabed Ahmed expressed his hope and the board's efforts to get the Senior Secretary of the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry join in an upcoming session of the meeting to bolster the purpose of PATA's initiative.