We, the Bangladeshis, are proud of the Padma Bridge. We cordially congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for her successful leadership and contribution to the construction of the Padma Bridge, overcoming all the obstacles.
In many ways, the Padma bridge is the crowning achievement of independent Bangladesh. The bridge will have significant positive impacts on the tourism industry, a sector which contributes about 4% to the GDP of Bangladesh. It is expected that hotels, motels, resorts, museums and many more will be built on the bank of the Padma river.
But the success of this industry is based on the proper and planned development of the tourism industry. We can build international standard amusement parks as well as five-star hotels for recreation.
From Teknaf to Tentulia, there is no shortage of scenic spots for a traveller in Bangladesh.
However, despite the immense potential of the tourism industry, we are still unable to take advantage of this sector as much as other countries in the world.
The Padma Bridge multiplied the potential for the development of the tourism industry. The biggest obstacle to the development of tourism was the inadequacy of the communication system and lack of security.
Due to the Padma Bridge, this inadequacy has now been largely addressed and the development of the tourism industry seems inevitable as communication management has already undergone revolutionary developments connecting 21 districts in the southern part of the country to the rest.
Countries around the world have chosen the tourism industry as an economic tool to strengthen and streamline their national economies. But we were not giving priority to the development of this industry. But given the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, a new opportunity for developing the tourism industry knocks at the door.
For many years, the government has been deprived of revenue from this sector as the tourist centres had not been developed in a planned way. Cox's Bazar, Sylhet, and Rangamati were considered the main tourist attractions. But various places in southern Bengal could not attract domestic and foreign tourists due to poor communications.
Like India's tourist city "Goa", we can make Patuakhali, the green land of immense beauty, a tourist town. The Padma Bridge can change the lives and livelihoods of the people of the south of Bangladesh and bring economic prosperity if we carefully develop the tourism industry in these regions.
The government should have a vision and master plan for the tourism industry. With proper planning and development of the sector it may be possible for it to account for around 30% of the GDP of the country.
In a country that has world heritage like the mangrove forest of the Sundarbans; the longest beach in the world and many other tourist attractions, the development of the tourism industry is inevitable.
As we can see, the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the River Thames in London are the main destinations for a tourist. We need to make Padma Bridge known to the world through such global branding.
The world should know that the Padma Bridge is nothing short of an "Engineering Marvel". It is being reported that the Padma Bridge is going to be connected with the Trans-Asian Express Highway route.
In addition to physical and infrastructural development, I think the creation of skilled manpower in this sector is also a key factor. The Bangladesh Tourism Board is making a master plan with eleven spots in the country.
Some important places also have architectural, structural, and investment plans. Among these, tourist spots of Barisal and Khulna will get priority.
I think the proper implementation of the planned tourism industry based on Padma Bridge will have a significant impact on the economy of Bangladesh. The development of the tourism industry, however, will require proper planning, expansion of large-scale tourism facilities, and political stability.
Unless there is a natural disaster or a major global recession, I firmly believe that the development of the tourism industry will take Bangladesh to a unique height in the world. This bridge will play a helpful role in that.
Mir Mahfuzur Rahman is the Media Coordinator at the Bangladesh Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (BAAPA).
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.