EBL Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Festival pulled in a large number of visitors on the first day.
Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh organised the three-day fair in collaboration with Eastern Bank at Banga-bandhu International Conference Centre.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader inaugurated the event as chief guest.
Quader said Bangladesh has a lot of events round the year, like International Mother Language Day, the first day of the Bangla New Year, Independence Day, which can be occasions for tourists to visit the country.
He also said the archeological sites in Narsingdi, Wari-Bateshwar, are also tourist attractions.
The tourism minister said the government formed a tourism board to help boost the sector. Officials have been recruited and financial allotments made for the board.
“The government declared 2011 as a year of tourism, when various year-long programmes will be observed.”
The minister said the next ICC World Cup will take place in Bangladesh and it is a great opportunity for the tourism sector to expose the country to the rest of the world.
Cultural Affairs Ministry Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamun said: “The government already deployed Tk 100 crore to flourish the tourism sector.”
At the fair, 110 organisations from 10 different countries, including Bangladesh, are showcasing their products and services at 163 stalls.
Tran Vinh Loc Jonathan, executive director of Lac Hong Voyager Co Ltd of Vietnam, told The Daily Star that his country has good relations with Bangladesh. There is an opportunity for Bangladeshis to visit Vietnam as well, he said.
He assured that they would handle everything from visa processing to hotel booking and site seeing for the visitors.
Salman Ahmed, deputy director of international marketing division of Tourism Malaysia, said they are offering special holiday packages with return air tickets to Malaysia at discount prices.
“Tourism is a reciprocal deal and just like we expect visitors from Bangladesh, the host country also expects visitors from my country.”
The fair will remain open from 10am to 8pm with an entry fee of Tk 20.