The Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh have organised a three-day fair with a view to enabling those who want to travel during the forthcoming Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
Dubbed the Biman Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair 2018, the event will see participation of tourism authorities of three countries along with tour operators, travel agents, airlines, hotels and resorts from Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan, the UAE, China, Cambodia, the Maldives and Vietnam.
The Bangladesh Tourism Board along with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, Nepal Tourism Board, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism of India are taking part in the fair along with 50 foreign organisations in 10 pavilions, 18 mini-pavilions and 130 stalls.
“Nowadays, lots of people prefer to pass their Eid holidays abroad,” said Md Taslim Amin Shovon, TOAB's director of trade and fair.
Eid-ul-Fitr holidays start on June 15 and ends on June 17.
People are now earning more, so they want to spend an enjoyable vacation, whether it is at home or abroad, he added.
Packages for medical tourism in Thailand and India can also be found at the fair.
Md Saiful Islam, senior executive for operation and marketing at Life and Health, the local representative of a Thai hospital, said they are offering attractive discounts as they know people would utilise the Eid holidays to go for medical check-ups.
Global Medical Travel, an Indian venture, has set up a stall at the fair targeting the Bangladeshi patients.
“A huge number of Bangladeshis travel to different cities of India for medical treatment, so we are looking to facilitate the process,” said Vishal K Laroia, founder and chief executive of Global Medical Travel.
The company has links with more than 50 renowned hospitals in India, he said. The airlines also are offering huge discounts at the fair.
For instance, Biman is offering 20 percent discounts for seven international destinations during Eid-ul-Fitr.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation in collaboration with some local partners is offering adventure tourism in different hilly and costal parts of the country for the first time.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shajahan Kamal inaugurated the fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, who was the guest of honour at the inaugural ceremony of the fair, proposed a 'One Sundarbans campaign' to promote Indo-Bangla tourism.
“Sundarbans would be one area where we can operate a single tour from both sides of the borders and I think we both can take advantage of it.”
Sundarbans is the world's largest mangrove forest and is jointly shared by Bangladesh and India.
Shringla said cruise lines can start from India and enter Bangladesh through the Padma river and could conclude in Barisal via Chandpur.
The Indian envoy said Bangladesh became the largest tourist-sending country to India last year after about 30 lakhs Bangladeshis visited the neighbouring country.
The Indian mission in Bangladesh has already eased the visa process and is keen to work with Bangladesh to jointly develop the tourism sector of the two friendly neighbours, he added.