DHAKA, Jan 4, 2018 (BSS) - Bangladesh for the first time will host the tourism ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) next month.
The 10th session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) will be held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel from February 5-7 with the theme "Promoting Regional Integration through Tourism".
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave her consent to inaugurate the high level international meeting.
A steering committee meeting to this end was held at the conference room of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry today with the newly appointed Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal in the chair.
Bangladesh has become the host of the OIC tourism ministerial meeting after successfully holding the joint meeting of United Nations' World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the first time in May last year.
The ICTM is being held in different OIC member countries in every two years. Its 9th session was held in Niamey, the capital of Niger in 2015.
As per the tradition, the chairmanship of the conference will be transferred to Bangladesh tourism minister from his Niger counterpart for next two years at the opening ceremony of the upcoming 10th ICTM session.
The meeting will offer the country to promote its Islamic heritage to the Muslim world, top official of the country's tourism promoting authorities said.
"The presidency of ICTM will help Bangladesh showcase its tourism potential in Muslim countries more effectively," Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) CEO Dr Nasir told BSS.
Referring to the tradition of declaring two cities of OIC member countries as "Capital of Islamic Tourism" at every meeting of ICTM, the BTB chief said the name of Chittagong and Bagherhat would be proposed at the next conference to select one of these as capital of Islamic tourism either for 2019 or 2020.
The last 9th session declared Madina and the Iranian Tabriz city as the capitals of Islamic tourism for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Besides the core agenda of ICTM, development and promotion of Islamic culture and heritage, the 10th session will also review progress of the tourism projects in different countries those are being implemented in line with joint cooperation of Islamic tourism.
A recent OIC study has revealed that in 2015 the estimated number of Muslim tourists were 117 million, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel economy.
This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 and 11 percent of the market segment with a market value projected to exceed US Dollar 200 billion.