When it comes to art, visual arts and performing arts come first. Among these, sculpture, drawing, music, dance, recitation, theater, cinema, photography and many more come to mind. On the other hand, we also know about the breeding industry, extraction industry, construction industry, manufacturing industry and service industry. In other words, the industries that we find in terms of definition are: large scale industries, small scale industries, medium industries, small scale industries, priority industries, consumer industries, secondary industries, hi-tech industries, protected industries, regulated industries, imports. Alternative industries, export oriented industries, capital goods industries and cottage industries.
It is said that tourism is the biggest industry and its importance is universal. At the very beginning of the National Tourism Policy-2010, it has been identified as a ‘multidimensional’ industry. But why is tourism called industry? Have we calculated that? Does tourism fall into one (or more) of the industries we have defined in light of the definition? So what is the reason for calling tourism an industry separately? I think if we can better understand the reason why tourism has been given the status of an industry, then we can also understand the importance and significance of tourism as an industry very deeply.
In the language of the book, on the one hand, art is: the process of converting primary goods into secondary or final goods through factory-based production methods. Wikipedia, on the other hand, defines art in the following way: “Art is the act of conveying a sense of identity to others through the expressions of colors, lines, words or metaphors arising from the artist’s own experience.”
Then there are basically two aspects of art that are clearly an artistic aspect that can be called artistic and creative. The other is manufacturing, economic or commercial. As a result, if tourism is really to be defined as an industry, it will be important to come up with a definite definition of the combination of these two aspects.
Many traditions are being destroyed in the name of recent development in the field of tourism, many examples of which we see before our eyes. For example: Comilla Town Hall was demolished in the name of construction of a new multi-storey building and the memory and architecture of the Maharaja of Tripura was destroyed in general; Construction of tourist center in Bandarban etc.
Apart from this, we have also witnessed many unexpected images of various tourist destinations at this time of coronavirus infection; Such as: construction of houses in the vicinity of Dwarkanath Math in Rajbari and unplanned excavation of soil from around it, various anti-social activities including neglect and neglect of Bhawal National Park Lack of formulation, lack of tourism control, deterioration of environment and surroundings of the water forest Ratargul in Goainghat, unhygienic environment including illegal shops and restaurants in Kuakata, etc.
Cox’s Bazar, the world’s longest sandy beach, Kuakata, the unique beach, the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest, numerous rivers, forests, hills, lakes, tea gardens, and a wide variety of haor-baor have all added to our tourism potential. We also have wildlife, a biodiversity of countless rare animals.
We also have tourist-rich archeological sites and places: ancient mosques, Buddhist monasteries, temples, general settlements, dwelling houses, nahabatkhana, educational institutions, zamindar palaces, coins, ancient manuscripts, terracotta plaques, stone sculptures, pottery, etc. But overall, we have almost always seen the concerned authorities of the government being indifferent in their proper preservation and maintenance.
Even during this crisis of the coronavirus, we have seen many incidents and human behaviors that threaten the environment and biodiversity. For example: cooking in a place where fire cannot be lit, playing music in a place where loud music cannot be played, excessive use of plastic materials and making the environment dirty and unclean by throwing garbage everywhere etc.
The National Tourism Policy 2010 clearly states, “Bangladesh is one of the largest deltaic countries in the world and a country with diverse tourism potential.” Our country is rich in archeological artifacts. These undoubtedly play a vital role in highlighting the history and heritage of a country and in shaping our history. Besides, it would not be an exaggeration to say that tourism is one of the means of establishing ethnic connection, friendship and cosmopolitanism.
But sad but true is the fact that we have not been able to develop our tourism industry in a way that would preserve the natural environment, ecosystem and overall biodiversity. Our national resources will be protected. The biggest reason for this, I think, is the lack of understanding of tourism and industry separately.
If the importance and sense of protecting the tourism industry is not created in people of all walks of life, then why should people be willing to defend it as an industry?
Asked to comment on the issue at a private conversation, renowned industry critic and renowned teacher Professor Nazrul Islam said, “Tourism is an industry. But it is difficult to define art. Because it’s the same for everyone. The debate over aesthetics is very old. However, there may be a new debate. Because tourism in our country does not produce much, but presents. As a result, tourism has to be ensured keeping the natural beauty one hundred percent. Even behaviors, agricultural matters can be tourism for many. So there has to be effort to present it better. In addition, every tourist-rich place must be aesthetic and cultural, there is also a need to present the subtle issues with importance. Its business and commercial value will undoubtedly remain. Walking on the river is a kind of tourism, but if you can’t get close to it because of the stench, then it is worthless. ”
Explaining his views on tourism, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, an internationally renowned artist, said, “Bangladesh is the most beautiful country I have ever seen.” Any foreigner who wants to visit and appreciate Bangladesh must find its inner beauty as well as its outer beauty.… As Bengalis and people of a free country, it is our responsibility to present the true beauty of our beautiful land. ” (Source: Zainul Abedin: His work and words, reader gathering).
We know that after the independence of Bangladesh, the issues related to tourism were under the Ministry of Commerce. Later, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism was established as a ministry through several important changes and the issues related to tourism were brought under this ministry.
But tourism is not just a matter of trade or the Ministry of Aviation and Tourism. It has close ties with various ministries including Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Education. There are important responsibilities of different departments in this regard such as: Department of Archeology. The department has responsibilities such as: Wildlife and Nature Conservation Department. Local administrations and people’s representatives also have clear roles and responsibilities in all these areas.
In this case, there is a separate requirement to follow international policies, such as: International Antiquities Policy. So, I think it is important to formulate realistic policies and sustainable laws and institutional framework for tourism by thinking about the overall aspect. Through which we will be able to develop tourism not only in name but also as an industry.
The relevant hope is that our country has formed a tourism corporation and tourism board. In addition, a new law called Bangladesh Tour Operators and Tour Guides (Registration and Operation) Bill 2021 has recently been enacted to protect the interests of the tourism industry and tourists. But I think archaeologists, historians, heritage experts, architects, planners and cultural activists also need to be consulted in this effort to finalize the law.
This time of coronavirus infection is very important for us. We have seen the tourism industry boom without any health restrictions when the infection is somewhat reduced. That is why we are temporarily noticing various awareness and promotional initiatives and various activities including business, which are very inadequate. But in order to really boost and sustain the tourism industry, it is most important at this moment to adopt a long-term plan. And under that plan, first of all, it will be necessary to define the industry separately.
Where there are tourists or tourist centers, it is normal to have business and trade. But the main theme of the plan will be to create a vision of how each tourist destination will become an industry or an industry. And then the purpose for which people go to tourist places as tourists – that purpose will be successful and fruitful. The artistic aspect and eco-friendly environment of the tourist places will also be protected and overall the relations of Bangladesh from the economic, humanitarian and international point of view will be further improved through tourism.