(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)
Dhaka: Bangladesh is expected to receive 0.21 million foreign tourists in the calendar year 2023, slightly up from 0.2 million in 2022, said Statista, a Germany-based online platform for data gathering and visualization, in its recent report.
According to its calculation, Bangladesh received 0.32 million tourists in 2019, which fell sharply to 60,000 in 2020, and 1,17,000 in 2021.
It also estimated that the country's inbound tourists will increase to 2019's level of 0.32 million in 2028 following some ups and downs along the way.
Meaning, it will take five more years for inbound travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels and solve the Covid-19 induced crisis that is currently haunting the industry.
According to Bangladesh Tourism Board's data, the country drew a constantly increasing number of foreign holidaymakers between 2016 and 2019.
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In 2019, the country attracted 6,21,131 foreign tourists while the figure declined to 1,81,518 in 2020 and 1,35,186 in 2021.
However, the figures available at the government organisations might not reflect the authentic number of holidaymakers, as many foreigners come to Bangladesh for different purposes with tourist visa, stressed industry insiders.
They further claimed, the inflow of foreign tourists in Bangladesh remains much lower than potential over infrastructure shortcomings, visa regime complexity, and destination marketing or promotion limitation.
Even African countries are duly promoted in different programmes on global media platforms while Bangladesh severely lacks efforts to promote its tourist destinations to foreigners, added the insiders.
The country also needs to launch country-specific promotional campaigns to attract larger numbers of travel enthusiasts from populous Asian nations like India and China, they further urged.
Another issue is that the country does not offer any electronic visa for tourists, claimed the industry stakeholders.
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On a positive note, earlier, talking to The Bangladesh Monitor, Abu Taher Md Jaber, CEO of Bangladesh Tourism Board, mentioned, Bangladesh will launch e-Visas for tourists eligible for Visa on Arrival soon.
However, nationals of only 61 countries are currently eligible for VOA and the stakeholders urged the government to increase the number further, stressing that, offering visa hassle-free is a must bring in more tourists.