International Conference on Buddhist Heritage and Tourism Held in Dhaka
Started on Tuesday, a two-day international conference on Buddhist heritage and tourism was held in BICC, Dhaka. The government hopes this conference built a positive image of Bangladesh in the world. Tourism officials expect this attempt will increase the number of foreign tourists in Bangladesh.
United Nations Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of Bangladesh, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism organized this conference. Starting from the Tourist Organization of the United Nations World Tourism Organization and officials from 13 countries took part in it.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of (UNWTO) delivered the speech as the special guest. Ministers and officials from 13 countries including India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Korea and Afghanistan were present in conference of Dhaka.
Secretary of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, Khorshed Alam Chowdhury, mentioned that this conference will give the world a new concept. The Buddhist archaeological, architectural, historical, cultural heritage and Buddhist monuments in the south-eastern have been highlighted during the conference. They are expecting the tourists traveling to the region with a focus on Buddha architecture, will find a new destination in Bangladesh. Through the conference, the Prime Minister officially announced 2016 as the Tourism Year. The government is expecting next year to bring 10 million foreign tourists to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Tourism Board officials added that, including Paharpur and Myanamati there are at least 500 Buddhist establishments in Bangladesh. Mahasthangar Basubihara, Bihar Somapura Rajshahi, Comilla Sal Bihar, Pundit Bihar in Chittagong, Bihar Vikramshila in Dhaka are noteworthy.
Director of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), Masud Hossain told that, in 2014, number of trips was 48 million in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nepal and Myanmar Buddhist attractions. These regions are aiming to bring nearly one million tourists by the year of 2020.
If Bangladesh is able to have just one and a half percent of such tourists in the next five years, number of travelers will be 1.5 lacs. In addition, at least 600 million of revenue is expected in next five years. “
Sufi Mostafizur Rahman, professor of Archeology at the Jahangirnagar University added that, “considering the archaeological sites of Buddhism, Bangladesh is one of the best places in the world. Paharpur Somapura Bauddhabiharera is comparable to Nalanda monastery. But there’s no proclamation.
According to the Chinese traveler Huen Sanyera, Sal district has 30 Buddhist monastery. So far, only seven of the convents have been excavated. Such a city cannot be found anywhere else in the world, where there is so much learning. If adequate plans are adopted, Bangladesh will turn into a priority destination for Buddhist tourists.”