More allocation and incentive sought for aviation and tourism

DHAKA- Leaders of Aviation and Tourism sector today sought more allocations and incentives for the aviation and tourism sector in the upcoming national budget to further flourish the sector terming it as one of the main sources of earning foreign exchange.

The aviation sector leaders demanded to adjust the fuel surcharge and landing charge, travel agents to withdraw vat on air tickets while tourism leaders urged to let them import duty-free tourist vehicles.

They made the demands at a "Pre-Budget discussion on Civil Aviation and Tourism" organized by Aviation and Tourism Journalists' Forum of Bangladesh (ATJFB) at Hotel Abakash in the city.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon spoke as the chief guest while State Minster for Finance MA Mannan, and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism M Faruk Khan spoke as the special guests.

In recent years, Menon said that country's tourism industry has progressed but this thriving sector needs incentive for further advancement of this sector. "I will discuss the demands with the finance ministry and other stakeholders.. Now it's high time to drive the sector to a long way", he said.

Following the some demand on aviation issues, he said that adjustment of fuel price for the aviation sector will also be discussed. "We are working in adjusting the landing charges," he added.

State minister for Finance MA Mannan said that there is a wrong conception about fund allocation and release. The finance ministry always allocates fund after discussing with respective stakeholders and release it to the concern ministry in the first week of July.

He also assured that he will try to realize the tour operators' demand of importing duty-free vehicle for tourists.

Terming the tourism as a priority sector, Faruk Khan said that it is needed to provide incentives and policy support including facilities of importing duty-free tourist vehicles, introducing CIP facilities for tour operators and adjustment of tax for this growing sector.

Presided over by ATJFB President Nadira Kiron, the discussion was addressed by Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Chief Executive Officer Dr Md Nasir Uddin, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) Chairman Dr Aparup Chowdhury, Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) President Taufiq Uddin and Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) president Manzur Murshed Mahbub as the guests of honor.

Novoair Managing Director Mofizur Rahman, TOAB director Taufiq Rahman and ATAB joint Secretary General Abdus Salam Aref presented three separate papers on behalf of their respective fields while ATJFB General Secretary Tanzim Anwar gave the vote of thanks.

In his keynote paper the TOAB director placed a set of proposals including import of duty-free vehicle, money transaction via bank, incentives and cross-border tourism facilities.

Mentioning a set of challenge for local aviation sector, NOVOAIR managing director demanded government's cordial assistance on fuel price, landing charge and other issues to compete with the international airlines.

Monitor editor Kazi Wahidul Alam, Biman Bangladesh Airlines general manager Shakil Meraz and ATJFB joint secretary Ishtiaq Husain also took part at the discussion, among others.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)