Seven more companies have come forward to invest over $94 million in Sabrang Tourism Park – the country's first exclusive tourism park – under construction in Cox's Bazar.
The businesses will build luxury hotels, resorts and cottages in the tourist centre, located about 450km from Dhaka. The new investments are expected to generate around 2,000 jobs.
According to the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (Beza), the Prime Minister's Office approved the investment proposals last week.
Ifad Group will invest heavily in building various tourist facilities, such as a five-star hotel. Ifad Autos, a sister concern of the group, will invest $31.69 million in building a hotel on a six-acre site, which will generate employment for 350 people.
Ifad Motors Limited, another company belonging to Ifad Group, wants to invest $16.20 million on a one-acre plot of the 1027-acre park located in Sabrang union of Teknaf Upazila.
In addition, DIRD Composite Textiles Ltd, Patwary Enterprise, East West Travels and Tours (Pvt) Ltd, DIPTA Garments Ltd, and DIRD Garments Ltd will build hotels, cottages and restaurants in the park, located about 82km from Cox's Bazar district town.
Iftekhar Ahmed Tipu, chairman of IFAD Group, told The Business Standard, "We will start talks with international chain hotels from next month to build a five-star hotel on six acres of land. We will also construct a resort and a small amusement park on another acre of land. There will be speedboats too there."
"We are keeping in mind that the people of our country can also use it. We are giving importance to the fact that the cost should be low despite providing international standard services," he added.
According to BEZA, DIRD Composite Textiles Ltd has obtained two acres of land where it will build a resort hotel. This investment of $17.29 million will provide employment to 315 people.
In addition, the company has proposed building cottages and resorts with an investment of $6.67 million on an acre of land.
DIPTA Garments Ltd will build a resort hotel on two acres of land with an investment of $4.25 million. It expects at least 300 people to be employed.
A 5km long and 15-foot high embankment has been constructed to protect the Sabrang tourist area from storms and high tides. BEZA has already inaugurated an iconic photo corner at Sabrang Tourism Park.
Beza Executive Chairman Sheikh Yusuf Harun said, "Land lease agreements will be signed with these companies soon. BEZA is working on creating an investment-friendly environment."
"The land development work of Sabrang Tourism Park has been 50% completed. The installation of a super dike, administrative building, and power connection has been completed. The construction of the boundary wall is ongoing," he added.
He mentioned that the remaining infrastructure construction will be completed soon. "Investors can begin their investment activities right away," he added.
Earlier, 120 acres of land had been given to 11 companies. BEZA has also entered into land lease agreements with them. These institutions will invest $202 million, which is expected to create more than 9,000 jobs.
Sabrang is an amazing hill and sea beach territory, multifaceted in diversity and remarkably beautiful. The purest air, lofty hill, sea and lagoon create perfect conditions for the development of all types of tourism and entertainment.
The park will have various entertainment facilities such as eco-tourism, marine aquarium and sea-cruise, special reserved area for foreign tourists, special arrangements for travel to St Martin's Island, floating jetty, children's park, eco-cottage, oceanarium, underwater and floating restaurants.
The authorities expect that, once this tourist centre is implemented, 39,000 domestic and foreign tourists will be able to enjoy it every day. It will create 11,000 jobs.
Mohiuddin Helal, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of River and Green Tours, has admired the natural beauty of Cox's Bazar, the longest beach in the world.
"There are ancient traditions and places to visit along the 120km beach. Despite that, foreign tourists do not come to Bangladesh," he said in disappointment.
Mohiuddin Helal said the lack of a separate area for them is among the drawbacks there. Now a planned tourist centre is being developed which will attract more foreign tourists.
"And if local companies invest here, foreign international chain hotels will also be more interested in coming to Bangladesh," he added.