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Tourist spending to rise this year: Analysts


Spending by local tourists is expected to grow by 7 percent year-on-year in 2014 to Tk 39,670 crore, according to a London-based research organisation.The amount will rise by 5.8 percent each year and finally stand at Tk 69,990 crore in 2024, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said in its latest study.

The forecast of WTTC seems to be achievable as the country is witnessing a stable political environment this year compared to the previous two years, said Kazi Wahidul Alam, a travel and tourism analyst.

An increase in people’s purchase power has also contributed to the rise in spending on leisure travel, he said.

The country is expected to attract 435,000 international tourists this year, up by 11 percent from the previous year, the study said.

“It is clear that the growth in travel and tourism demand from emerging markets continues with pace, as large rising middle classes, especially from Asia and Latin America, are willing and more able than ever to travel both within and beyond their borders,” the WTTC said.

Travel and tourism contributed Tk 22,260 crore or 2.1 percent to Bangladesh’s gross domestic product last year. This is forecast to rise 7.7 percent to Tk 23,980 crore this year.

The direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP reflects the ‘internal’ spending within a particular country by residents and non-residents for business and leisure purposes. This also includes the government’s spending directly linked to visitors, such as museums or national parks.

The WTTC has been conducting economic impact research for more than 20 years to assess and quantify the value of travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP and employment.

Alam said many domestic tour operators are now participating in international tourism fairs to attract more foreign tourists to the country, which is expected to have a positive impact on tourist arrivals.

A number of budget airlines such as Malindo Air, FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Tiger Airways have increased their travel frequency in Bangladesh, he said.

Also, many foreign experts and consultants will visit Bangladesh as the government has undertaken some big infrastructure projects, said Alam, also editor of Bangladesh Monitor, a fortnightly travel and tourism magazine.

The WTTC study said travel and tourism investment in Bangladesh was Tk 4,050 crore in 2013, or 1.5 percent of the total investment.

It should rise by 3.4 percent in 2014, and 6.5 percent per annum over the next ten years to Tk 7,850 crore.

Together with its research partner, Oxford Economics, the WTTC produces comprehensive reports on an annual basis to quantify, compare and forecast the economic impact of travel and tourism on 184 economies around the world.

It also publishes a world report highlighting global trends, as well as reports on regions, sub-regions and economic and geographic groups.
Travel and tourism also generated 1,328,500 jobs directly in 2013 (1.8 percent of total employment) in the country and this is forecast to grow by 4 percent in 2014 to 1,381,500.

This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

Domestic travel spending generated 97.8 percent of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2013 compared with 2.2 percent for visitor exports (for example foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts).

Visitor exports — spending within the country by international tourists for both business and leisure trips — are a key component of the direct contribution of travel and tourism. In 2013, Bangladesh generated Tk 830 crore in visitor exports and the amount may rise to Tk 890 crore this year.

Source: The Daily Star

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