Bangladesh, a country in South Asia, is known for its natural beauty, rich culture, and hospitality. However, the hospitality industry in Bangladesh still has a long way to go regarding modernization and development. Bangladesh needs to focus on digitalization, contactless services, syndicate handling, and government monitoring, among other things.
Bangladesh’s tourism and hospitality sector has shown resilience in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, with promising signs of recovery. The industry is expected to significantly boost thanks to the proposed national budget for the fiscal year 2022-23, which allocated BDT 1,000 crore to the sector.
According to Shahidus Sadeque, director for marketing and business promotion of InterContinental Dhaka, their hotel’s restaurant business has already reached pre-pandemic revenue figures. Although occupancy of guest rooms is slightly slower than before, Sadeque is optimistic that it will pick up as international travel gradually resumes. The hospitality sector in Bangladesh suffered losses of BDT 6,000 crore in 2020 due to the pandemic, as per a study by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
The government has recognized the hospitality sector’s importance and provided fiscal stimulus and liquidity support, including the allocation of BDT 1,000 crore in the latest budget. The industry has welcomed this. It will help reduce the red tape and bureaucracy involved in getting licenses and revise taxation to help optimize revenue-generating streams to help rebuild the industry, which struggled in the last two years due to the pandemic.
The industry also needs skilled personnel to thrive. Senior officials at InterContinental Dhaka have proposed that existing courses and curricula in the hotel and tourism sector must be upgraded. Students should have hands-on training, in addition to theoretical knowledge, to meet the industry’s requirements. Bangladesh can take inspiration from the hospitality and tourism industry of other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, the Maldives, India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka to help boost the national economy.
Nishan Moonesinghe, a Sri Lankan with vast experience in the hospitality sector, also highlighted the potential of the hospitality sector in Bangladesh.
“As hospitality professionals, we should create synergy among fellow hoteliers and work together, sharing information and following best practices from corporate entities. Sharing market segment information will help us manage pricing elasticity in the city and stabilize room rates, which are currently unstable. The potentials of the hospitality sector are immense, and with government support and industry collaboration, Bangladesh can achieve great success in this sector.”
Digitalization is the future of the hospitality industry. In recent years, many top hospitality industries worldwide have embraced digitalization, and Bangladesh needs to do the same. This means investing in technology, such as online booking systems, digital menus, and automated check-in and check-out systems. By digitalizing the hospitality industry, Bangladesh can provide guests with a seamless experience that is both efficient and convenient.
Contactless services are becoming increasingly popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, guests are looking for ways to avoid physical contact with staff and other guests. Contactless services, such as online check-in and check-out, mobile payments, and digital keys can help to reduce the risk of transmission and provide guests with peace of mind. By adopting these contactless services, Bangladesh can offer guests a safer and more convenient experience.
Syndicate handling is another important factor. Different sectors of the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, and tour operators, need to work together to provide a seamless experience for guests. For example, hotels can partner with tour operators to provide guests with package deals, including accommodation and tours. These different sectors can provide guests with a more comprehensive and satisfying experience by working together.
Government monitoring is also important for the development of the hospitality industry. The government can provide guidance and support to the industry and ensure that standards are being met. This can include monitoring the quality of hotels and restaurants, providing staff training, and enforcing regulations. By working closely with the government, the hospitality industry in Bangladesh can ensure that it meets guests’ needs and provides a high-quality experience.
Bangladesh can draw inspiration from top hospitality industries worldwide to become a developed hospitality industry. For example, Singapore is known for its high-quality hospitality industry, focusing on digitalization and contactless services. The country has also invested heavily in training programs for staff, which has helped improve the industry’s overall quality. Similarly, the hospitality industry in Thailand is known for its warm hospitality and attention to detail. The country has also focused on promoting sustainable tourism, which has helped to attract a wide range of guests.
In addition to the points mentioned above, Bangladesh can implement several other strategies to develop its hospitality industry.
Focus on Sustainable Tourism: Bangladesh can develop sustainable tourism by promoting eco-tourism and cultural tourism. It can attract tourists interested in experiencing the country’s local culture and natural beauty. This will not only help preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage but also create a positive image of Bangladesh in the international market.
Develop Skilled Workforce: The hospitality industry heavily relies on its workforce. Therefore, developing a skilled workforce that can provide top-notch services to customers is essential. Bangladesh can invest in training programs and vocational courses that can enhance the local workforce’s skills. This will improve the quality of services and create job opportunities for the local population.
Embrace Technology: Technology has become an integral part of the hospitality industry. By embracing technology, Bangladesh can provide contactless services, online bookings, and digital payments. This will not only improve the customer experience but also improve the efficiency of the services offered.
Improve Infrastructure: Developing world-class infrastructure is essential for the growth of the hospitality industry. Bangladesh can invest in developing state-of-the-art hotels, airports, and transportation facilities. This will attract more tourists and improve the customers’ overall experience.
Promote Destination Branding: Bangladesh can promote destination branding by showcasing its unique culture, heritage, and natural beauty. It can collaborate with travel bloggers, influencers, and media houses to promote the country as a tourist destination.
There are many ways that Bangladesh can land into a developed hospitality industry. By focusing on digitalization, contactless services, syndicate handling, government monitoring, and drawing inspiration from top hospitality industries around the world, Bangladesh can provide guests with a high-quality and satisfying experience. With the right investments and support, Bangladesh can become a leading destination for tourists and business travellers alike.