Bangladesh looks to boost tourism from OIC states 

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proposed to ease visa procedures with the aim of promoting intra-OIC tourist flows. (Reuters)
Updated 13 July 2019

Bangladesh looks to boost tourism from OIC states 

  • Experts suggest building more infrastructure to attract international visitors

DHAKA: To attract tourists from these countries, Dhaka has proposed to build a special tourist zone at the world’s longest sea beach in Cox’s Bazar.  
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the proposal during the inaugural session of a two-day festival called “Dhaka the OIC City of Tourism 2019” on Thursday.
The program was attended by tourism ministers from Sierra Leone and Gambia and all other OIC states’ ambassadors in Dhaka. 
Dhaka was chosen as the “city of tourism” for 2019 during the 10th Islamic conference of tourism ministers, held in Dhaka between Feb. 5-7, 2018. 
Bangladesh has many historic Islamic sites, such as ancient mosques, holy shrines of different preachers of Islam, and great architectural structures of the Mughals.
The country boasts special natural spots including the beach at Cox’s Bazar, the world’s only mangrove forest Sundarbans, and the serene beauty of Chottogram Hill Tracts. 
While addressing the OIC delegates, Hasina talked about the potential of increasing tourism in the country.
“The value of the Islamic tourism market will increase to $243 billion by 2021, with an annual 8.3 percent growth. We’ll have to take great efforts and prepare a roadmap aimed at promoting Islamic tourism as a global business brand, which will attract tourists further,” Hasina said. 
“There’s an urgent need to galvanize our tourism sector. Islamic tourism is the best possible area where we have the opportunity to work together,” she said. 
To boost tourism from OIC citizens, Hasina proposed to “promote intra-OIC tourist flows through easing visas,” and “for investment promotion, branding and standardization and capacity building.”

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Bangladesh boasts special natural spots including the beach at Cox’s Bazar, the world’s only mangrove forest Sundarbans, and the serene beauty of Chottogram Hill Tracts.

She said that her country is willing to “designate and develop a particular place on the Cox’s Bazar sea beach for their tourists.”
“Since we want to develop our tourism sector internationally, we can also designate and develop a separate place for the tourists from the western world,” she added. 
“Bangladesh has a strong tradition of halal foods. Moreover, we have so many Islamic heritage sites across the country which will attract the Muslim tourists,” said Dr. Bhubon Chandra Biswas, CEO of Bangladesh’s Tourism Board.
“We will work on preparing a special tourist zone for OIC nationals on Cox’s Bazar. Bangladesh will organize a series of tourism fairs in the OIC states,” Biswas added. 
Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, former ambassador and foreign secretary of Bangladesh, suggested that the country needs to build more infrastructure to attract foreign tourists.  
“Around 80 percent of our tourists are domestic. We need to introduce e-visa and port-entry arrival systems for OIC nationals to promote intra-OIC tourism,” Chowdhury said. 
“The government should support the private sector like the Maldives and Sri Lanka did. The government should facilitate and coordinate the policies along with the private sector operators,” Chowdhury added. 


Irish PM says outstanding Brexit issues, may need more time

Updated 10 min 4 sec ago

Irish PM says outstanding Brexit issues, may need more time

  • Britain’s Brexit minister Steve Barclay said he would not consider accepting a delay to Britain’s EU exit beyond Oct. 31
  • Reports that the last-ditch talks to seal a Brexit deal — to be approved by a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday

BRUSSELS/DUBLIN: There are still issues to be resolved in Brexit negotiations, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday, as European Union sources said the eleventh-hour talks with London were at a standstill.

“There is a pathway to a possible deal but there are many issues that still need to be fully resolved,” Varadkar said in a speech.
He said he had spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier in the day.

“I do think we are making progress but there are issues yet to be resolved and hopefully that can be done today.”

“But if it’s not, there is still more time. October 31 is still a few weeks away and there is the possibility of an additional summit before that if we need one ... Although time is running short, I am confident that (Ireland’s) objectives can be met.”

Shortly before Varadkar spoke, EU sources said the talks had reached a “standstill” over a future trade deal between Britain and the bloc, as well as the rejection by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party of customs solutions tentatively agreed by negotiators.

Britain’s Brexit minister Steve Barclay said he would not consider accepting a delay to Britain’s EU exit beyond Oct. 31, even if it was only used to tie up the necessary legal requirements of an agreement.

“No, I think it is important that we leave on the 31st of October,” Barclay told a British parliamentary committee.

Reports that the last-ditch talks to seal a Brexit deal — to be approved by a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday before Britain is due out on Oct.31 — hit sterling and stocks in London.