Category Archives: Leisure/Tourism

Earnings of hospitality industry double

Earnings of hospitality industry double

FHM Humayan Kabir

The capital’s hospitality industry has almost doubled in size and earnings over the last four years, thanks to the addition of a few new five-star hotels, officials said Wednesday.

The luxury hotels in Dhaka have earned Tk 1.18 billion revenue as room rent in calendar year 2007 while it was Tk 577.29 million four years back in 2004, a top official of a five star hotel told the FE.

“The hospitality industry is expected to go to a new heights as four five star hotels in Dhaka earned TK 1.312 billion in the first three quarters of the current year 2008, up by Tk 140 million from the 12-month earnings of 2007,” he said.

Bangladesh’s four five-star hotels -Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka Sheraton, Radisson Water Garden and The Westin – are situated in the capital.

Foreign businessmen, ready-made garment buyers in particular, have contributed to the growth of the hospitality industry.

The four five-star hotels earned Tk 970.42 million in 2006 and Tk 717.69 million in 2005.

“We are optimistic that the hospitality industry in Bangladesh will flourish further in the coming days as the country’s economy is growing fast with the increased flow of tourists and businessmen to the country,” said director (sales and marketing) of the Westin hotel ATM Hafizullah.

He said: “Businessmen around the world are gradually choosing Bangladesh as one of the lucrative places for investment. This is helping the hospitality industry to reach a new height.”

The occupancy rate of the newly set up Radisson Water Garden and The Westin is higher than their older counterparts — the Pan Pacific Sonargaon and the Dhaka Sheraton, an official of the Radisson hotel said requesting anonymity.

He said the newly started Dhaka’s Radisson hotel’s occupancy rate was 81 per cent during January-September period this year followed by 70 per cent of the Westin, 69 per cent of Dhaka Sheraton and 37 per cent of Sonargaon hotel.

“The winter season is the peak time for tourists flow. We expect more revenue earnings during the last quarter (October-December) than that of any other previous quarters of current year 2008,” the official said.

“I hope the revenue earnings will cross Tk 1.5 billion in 2008. It will be history for the country,” he said.

In the first three quarters (January-September) of 2008, the Westin hotel earned highest Tk 454 million as room rent revenue, followed by the Radisson Tk 402 million, Sheraton Tk 272 million and the Sonargaon Tk 184 million.

Seagull plans Tk600cr hotel in Teknaf

Seagull plans Tk600cr hotel in Teknaf
Refayet Ullah Mirdha

Seagull Hotels Ltd, the owning company of five-star Seagull Hotel in Cox’s Bazar, is going to set up another five-star hotel in Teknaf, a southern resort and coastal area, 500 kilometres away from Dhaka.

The company management has already initiated process to purchase land in Teknaf to set up the hotel to be completed within next three years at a cost of around Tk 600 crore, said Managing Director of Seagull Hotels Masoom Iqbal.

Seagull Hotel started its journey in 2002 and reached the break-even point last year.

“We have a target of buying a stretch of 60 bighas land in Teknaf for the hotel as the number of foreign and local visitors is increasing rapidly there,” he said.

Masoom said the proposed hotel will have golf course, theme park, ropeway, marine aquarium and marine drive facilities.

He urged the government to formulate a befitting policy for the important tourist spots so the places in the coastal districts can be used properly as tourist spots.

He also called upon the government for making available an air landing space, bus and good railway communication facilities near Teknaf so that tourists can go there easily at cheaper costs.

Many small hotels are springing up in Teknaf and some other important tourist spots in the southern coastal districts, which will not be helpful for sustainable tourism development, Masoom said.

Development of hotels and motels in an unplanned and scattered manner will not help grow tourism business, as this will evolve a chance of damaging greenery, which is the main attraction of the tourist spots, he added.

“We have the potential of US$5-10 billion worth tourism business a year from Cox’s Bazar, Teknaf, Sonadia and St Martin’s coral island,” he said.

The flow of local and foreign visitors increased manifold over the last few years as people are increasingly becoming aware of the scenic beauty of Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata, Sonadia, St Martin’s and Teknaf, the Seagull MD said.

According to unofficial statistics reported in media, in 2007 arrivals of foreign tourists in Bangladesh grew by 35 percent over the previous year.

In 2007, 2.7 lakh tourists came to Bangladesh, while the number was 2 lakh in 2006. However, the number of visitors was 2.8 lakh in 2003.

BPC to be made bifurcated to expand tourism

BPC to be made bifurcated to expand tourism
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation will be bifurcated to flourish tourism industry and attract more local and foreign investors, BPC sources said.

They said the Council of Advisers is likely to approve next month a tourism-friendly policy that will open up a new horizon for the industry. The BPC will be split into Bangladesh Tourism Board and Bangladesh Tourism Department. For this, a draft of Bangladesh Parjatan Ordinance-2008 has been sent to the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry for vetting.

Special assistant to the chief adviser for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Jamil has said the policy is likely to be approved by the Council of Advisers next month for flourishing the tourism industry.

He said the government has been working to move the industry ahead on the basis of public-private partnership.

According to the proposed ordinance, BPC chairman Shafique Alam Mehdi said, the National Tourism Board will be an autonomous body. It will have the power to take any decision and implement it, he added.

To ensure private partnership, Mehdi said five directors, out of 10, would come from the private sector. He said an exclusive tourist zone would be set up like the export processing zone under the new policy.

The BPC chairman said proper arrangements for entertaining the tourists would be ensured consistent with local traditional and cultural values. Besides, he said, the authorities are considering introduction of tourist police to ensure security of the tourists.

Under the new policy the tourism board could make any agreement on earning, selling and leasing movable and immovable property.

The sources said Bangladesh Parjatan Department would work as a regulatory body. It will coordinate the work between among hotel, motel, travel agency and tour operators, and also look into their standard and make registration.

Besides Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, other concerned ministries like Communications and Cultural Affairs will be involved in expansion of tourism, and international criteria will be maintained in all affairs, the sources said.

They said a beach committee will be formed for more modernisation and safety of Cox’s Bazar Sea Beach.

The BPC has also sent a proposal to the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry for introducing on-arrival visa to reduce hassles of foreign tourists.