Branding Bangladesh for Tourism: This Is What I Never Thought

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During the weekend, a colleague who is working here in Bangladesh for some time, went to the sea in southeastern Cox’s Bazar with his family. “A great relief after the countrywide blockade and anti-government movement and this is for the first time that I have travelled outside the capital with my family,” as he said. He is from Uzbekistan and a very pious Muslim in his early 50s.

We are habituated with the cynicism that Bangladesh’s tourism industry offers nothing that foreign tourists look for and the scenario needs a change to attract them. Nothing has changed that much but my colleague today gave me a fresh food for thought.

Synopsis of what my colleague told me:

  1. I am very happy to visit Cox’s Bazar with my family. It was a relaxing experience.
  2. I went to Bangkok and the sea beach there is beautiful. It’s beautiful here too as the beach is wide and very long.
  3. In Bangkok, I would not feel comfortable to take my children to the sea beach. I don’t mind personally what many of the tourists do there (munching and so on) but I will prefer not to visit the sea beach with my mother or my daughter. Here in Bangladesh, I was totally comfortable to visit the beach with my children. No public nuisance was that bothered me. There are few things that one can ignore easily.
  4. On the way to the beach and here and there, you will find thousands of used condoms and beer bottle and so on. I did not feel comfortable to see those stuffs. Here in Bangladesh, there are things like water bottle, chips packet etc. but no condom or beer bottle.
  5. For Halal food, I had to think a lot and ask a lot in restaurants in Bangkok. Here I did not need to ask anyone as I know the practice here.

I went to Cox’s Bazar for couple of times in the last eight months and people say local tourists are now the main income source. Some people argue that introducing alcoholic drinks will pave the way for attracting foreign tourist. But many tourist also looks for sex tourism and the question is whether Bangladesh’s tourism spots should become a sex tourism destination.

So branding Bangladesh with its decency, beauty and unique cultural identity for those who look for it can be an option.

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Diplomacy and Diplomat

“Since my joining in Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July 2005 many times I go through the definition of Diplomacy and Diplomat!!!! (a person appointed by a national government to conduct official negotiations and maintain political, economic, and social relations with other countries, lives in a foreign country, fluent in its language and culture and a tactful person skilled in managing delicate situations.) For many of us, Diplomats live on cream and butter, engage in wine party and lucky enough to travel worldwide. But the dictionary meaning of Diplomacy and Diplomat never tells you how to survive in a totally unknown place without your near and dear ones, how to fight with monetary constraints but at the same time lead a Diplomat’s life, how to adjust with the contrast of weather and people, how to learn driving and be a good one with diplomatic license, how to deal with the peoples mind and attitude and be an official of Embassy, how to participate in all curriculum while your Report Writing is waiting on your table and should be given on time, how to organize meeting and follow up, how to maintain good relationship with your colleagues and friends worldwide, how to find out a lost one mid of nowhere, how to find out training facilities, how to explore your Govt’s possibilities of all kinds and at the end of the day how to manage your family and give some time to them and be a complete human being. These all we have to learn and experience, have to enjoy……. Part of diplomacy is to open different definitions of self-interest.”

Those words are from a Bangladeshi diplomat and the diplomat has eloquently described things that a very few people can think that far. Very interesting insights are here.

This is how diplomats of a country like Bangladesh often find themselves in the middle of nowhere but become resilient by virtue of their true nature. Thanks to the motherland that has gifted them with the greatest asset one can ever have- Resilience.

However I am sure if they listen to words of others, they will find a huge quantum of solace because there are many other professions like a diplomat’s where every moment poses separate challenges.

Nevertheless, we hardly try to see the human face of diplomacy.

 

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