(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said tourism is one of the areas where Islamic countries can work together to explore greater opportunities and potential.
'Tourism is the fastest growing sector greatly contributing to economy and employment across the world. Tourism is one of the areas where we have greater opportunities and potential to work together, she said while inaugurating the 10th session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) in Dhaka yesterday.
'There are numerous scopes and opportunities around us to work together for the betterment and welfare of the people of Muslim Ummah. In view of the current global scenario, the relationship among the OIC member-states should be based on mutual trust, understanding and co-operation, she said.
Bangladesh Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Shajahan Kamal presided over the function.
OIC Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen attended the function as guest of honour while tourism ministry secretary Ghulam Farooque gave welcome address.
Chairperson of the 9th Session of ICTM (Niger), representative of UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), also spoke on the occasion.
Hasina said Islamic economy has become a new phenomenon. 'It continues to grow and be operated by the Muslim community around the world. Because of the universal acceptability of the Islamic products and services, and a large consumer community, it has a huge potential to develop faith-based Islamic products and services.
'These products and services have become popular even in the non-Muslim communities. We should work together to preserve and conserve the Islamic culture and heritages, she added.
Hasina said travel and tourism have occupied a significant portion with other Islamic products and services. 'Islamic finance, halal foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics and tourism are some of the growing sectors of the Islamic economy. In order to develop these sectors, member-states of OIC need enhanced cooperation and partnerships both in public and private sectors.
'Bangladesh continues to maintain friendly relations with all OIC member-states and plays significant role to uphold Muslim solidarity in pursuit of the great Islamic values of fraternity, justice, cohesion and inclusion as a whole, she said.
Terming Bangladesh as an ideal place for tourism the prime minister said the country has a lot of resources for developing tourism industry.
Cox's Bazar, the longest unbroken beach in the world with the longest marine drive, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger and Kuakata, the daughter of the sea, are the great attractions for the tourists.