Bangladesh eyes Indian outbound MICE to deliver growth in arrivals

Bangladesh is eyeing the Indian MICE traveller, especially incentive groups, to raise their inbound numbers manifold, from its primary source market. The destination is a very short flight away from most Indian cities with Kolkata is the main gateway city for travel to Dhaka and Chittagong, but they have been mostly frequented by leisure tourists or business travellers. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) is working towards drawing more foreign tourists to realise its tourism potential. Although the inbound arrivals are not significant in volume at present, it expects the arrival numbers to grow.

Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, chairman, BPC, and additional secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism, said: “We are expecting more foreign tourists and that’s why we are participating in different international tourism fairs. Also, different tour operators’ associations and private companies have been regularly participating in fairs and organizing travel and tourism fairs in Bangladesh. It definitely brings some success in inbound.”

Admitting that the tourism promotion strategy of Bangladesh is not at par with other countries, Kabir said that it is a work in progress. “We are lagging behind in publicity, marketing and campaign. We need expert support as well as budget. This responsibility comes under the purview of Bangladesh Tourism Board. I know they have a master plan and they will be promoting Bangladesh. Hopefully, we will find more visuals and content in social media, print and other formats also,” he added.

He revealed that the main source markets for Bangladesh is the UK, USA, Japan, Germany, India, Italy and the Netherlands. “Earlier, Indians used to visit Bangladesh as VFR. Chinese also visit Bangladesh due to a lot of investments by Chinese companies in Bangladesh. Koreans also visit as South Korea is the single largest investor in Bangladesh in the private sector,” said Kabir. The destination offers several soft adventure as well as CSR options to encourage Indian incentive groups to travel for a meaningful experience. Moreover, the cost of travel is very reasonable compared to other neighbouring destinations.