Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday stressed the need for taking prompt measures to make Islamic tourism as a global business brand considering its huge potential since it witnesses 8.3 percent annual growth.
“The value of Islamic tourism market will increase to $243 billion by 2021 with an annual 8.3 percent growth. So, all-out efforts and roadmap aims at promoting Islamic tourism as a global business brand is urgently required,”
she said while inaugurating the two-day “Dhaka OIC City of Tourism 2019 “in a city hotel here.
The prime minister has also proposed allocating a separate tourist spot for the OIC member states in Cox’s Bazar.
Calling upon all the OIC member states to work together for flourishing Islamic tourism, she said, “In realising our targets (to be a developed and prosperous nation), flourish of tourism sector can play an important role. In this case, Islamic tourism is the best possible area where we have the opportunity and potential to work together.”
Bangladesh has been playing a significant role in upholding solidarity and unity among the Muslims following Islamic values of fraternity, justice, cohesion and inclusion as a whole since Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman joined the second OIC conference in 1974, the premier said.
Referring to a report of Thomson-Reuters that forecasted tremendous potential of Islamic tourism, the premier said, “Muslim populations globally spent a total of $151 billion on travel in 2015 (excluding Hajj and Umrah). Of the amount, OIC member states contributed to $109 billion.”
By 2020, the world’s Muslim population will be 26 percent of the entire world population while the number of Muslim tourists will rise to 180 million from 156 million within that year, she mentioned.
Urging the OIC member states to encourage their private sector entities in tourism infrastructure and development projects, the prime minister said, “I hope appropriate steps will be taken in order to promote intra-OIC tourism through easing visa for investment promotion, branding, standardisation and capacity building.”