Bangladeshi tour operators come back empty handed

BBDhaka : Bangladeshi tour operators who participated in Mumbai and New Delhi OTMs, India’s biggest travel shows, have come back empty handed.

Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) Mumbai was held from February 4 to 6 and OTM Delhi was held from February 10 to 12 where over 100 participants from abroad attended.

A total of 10 Bangladeshi tour operators, led by Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), took part in the two shows in the two biggest cities of India and engaged in B2B sessions with their counterparts with the aim of bringing tourists to Bangladesh from the neighbouring country.

“Bangladesh’s presence in Indian media is weak as is awareness of tourist destination in among the travel agents there,” said Md Zahirul Alam Bhuiyan Chief Executive Officer, Discovery Tours and Logistic.

He ascribed this to lack of marketing about Bangla-desh’s tourism products in India, which “can be a good market for us.”

“We also lack a standard product – destinations which are accessible the year round. “While I was selling a product, another agent was selling another destination. Though it should be centrally prepared, we floated the idea of “Bangla Golden Triangle.” We also offered fam trips at the B2B sessions to make the Indian agents aware of our destinations,” he said.

Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet form a triangle which can be accessed round the year. Destinations like Cox’s Bazar and Sundarbans can be extended tours of Chittagong and Dhaka respectively, Roman, as he is known among travel agents, said.

Our High Commission needs to be active. Though our HC officials were present in Delhi OTM, they were absent in Mumbai, he said. Before our arrival at the two cities, they could have held receptions in honour of major travel agents of India.

Another participant, Sharmeen Afroze, Chief Executive Officer, Autarky Travels said, BTB’s promotion as well as coordination was not enough. More should have been done.

There was no meeting before our departure for the two cities of India. Had BTB told us they would be promoting “Baul” concept, we could have molded our products accordingly. There were no coordination among us and BTB, though the latter supported us well.

The stalls sat the two OTMs were also neither interactive nor user friendly, she said.

We failed to sell to Indian travel agents, rather they sold to us. BTB should set up offices in India for better promotion, as when our counterparts heard that BTB did not have any office in India, their spirits dampened, Afroze concluded.

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