Creating Skilled Manpower in Tourism Industry of Bangladesh

Aktharuz Zaman Khan Kabir Chairman, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation e-Mail: chairman@parjatan.gov.bd

Tourism being an industry having much potential for creating multiplied value chain and multitier work force at each and every stage of service chain. It is an essential industry for a developing country like Bangladesh. Tourism is a labour intensive industry that employs large number of people mostly young-folk and provides wide range of jobs from the unskilled to highly professional. To tap the full benefit of tourism industry. Bangladesh is also focusing the creation of skilled man-power for its tourism industry. The tourism industry of Bangladesh is now an effective companion of the country’s journey on the development highway. According to the WTTC, at present 1.18 million people directly and total 2.43 million people are involved in the tourism industry of Bangladesh. The current direct tourism contribution to the GDP of Bangladesh is 2.2 percent. By 2028, Bangladesh tourism will contribute to the jobs market of Bangladesh with creating total 3.24 million jobs.

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) as a national tourism administration with its full mandate has been demonstrating an unflagging diligent to develop tourism industry of Bangladesh since 1972, and producing skilled human resource in tourism since 1974. The BPC’s flagship training institute- National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI) demonstrates a commendable job by producing 40 thousand skilled forces for tourism industry of Bangladesh. All are working at home and aboard with much reputation. BPC is very much proud to say that none of that skilled man-power is unemployed. The more skilled man power NHTTI can produce the more jobs they can able at home and abroad because of their good skills.

The 7th Five Year Plan aims to create 13.2 million jobs and raise the GDP growth to 8 percent by 2020. The chapter 13 of 7th 5-year Perspective Plan of Bangladesh government emphasizes creating productive employment opportunities through transforming youth into human resources. To achieve this goal, initiative will be taken to link training with jobs market and to strengthen the institutional capacity and infrastructure. Here, the tourism can contribute a lot to achieve the target by 2020. In the context of this plan, BPC aims to providing training to as many as 10 thousand people, who are already in the job market.

The global goals SDG no 8, 12 and 14 are directly involved in sustainable development of the country. The basic aims of sustainable development goals, inter alia, are to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Here, many experts specially the UNWTO categorically relate to tourism industry to achieve the SDGs. The tourism experts opine tourism is a significant source of foreign exchange and employment for developing countries of the world. At present, tourism is one of the world largest and fastest growing industries. In the context of sustainable economic growth, employment generation tourism can be an effective tool in achieving the sustainable goals (SDG). The SDG no-8 features “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. It is now undeniably true that tourism is an important driving force of an economic growth, and currently accounts for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. If we can create a decent work environment for the people specially youth and women working in the tourism industry, the sector will be benefited from enhanced skills and professional development. In line with this goal, the target 8.9 delineates “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates the jobs and promotes local culture and products”. Here, the contribution of the tourism to job creation may be recognized. Tourism industry of Bangladesh can be the largest employment generation if proper allocation is made for sustainable projects implementation.

The government of Bangladesh has already set target to establish 100 economic zones  and  create  10  million  employments in  Bangladesh. Here,  BPC  can contribute by providing trainings and help finding jobs at least 0.5 million youths. BPC has already chalked out plan to create tourism human resource in line with the 7th Five Year Plan and SDG, among which following are the salient features:

  1. a) Direct employment in the hospitality sector such as hotels, motels, boatels, apartals, home- stay, resorts, restaurants and transportations etc. in the form of waiters, catering staff (cooks, chef, sous chef, grinders, bartenders etc.), housekeepers, laundrymen, front officers’ accountant;
  2. b) Indirect employment such as handicraft, street guides, local transporters etc.;
  3. c) Induce employment such as story-tellers, legend narrators, interpreters, artists, performers, local guides, gardeners ;

Currently the young generation of Bangladesh both male and female is very much interested to work in the hospitality sector. They are now proud of posting pictures wearing the Chef Hat at Facebook, earlier what they thought it’s of a prestige matter. The number women involvement in hospitality sector of Bangladesh is also increasing. The youths are now robustly willing to be tour guide at a heritage sites or tourist attractions. They themselves build home- stay at rural area. All these are the results of continues effort of BPC. This organization is very much on the track to reach the young people through social organizations like youth clubs and non- profit organizations (NPO).

However, Young people need to be connected with the e-tourism like creating Google-tourist guides, e-itinerary etc. BPC is ready to provide these kinds of training to the young people of Bangladesh. There requires cooperation from other departments but BPC is to be the lead organization with its institutional memory of 45 years. Apart from these, the organization has a pool of skilled manpower to contribute to any kind of training as well as tourism development of Bangladesh.

BPC targets to the youth community to transform them into skilled manpower. As Bangladesh tourism is now at the take-off stage, it can take advantage of demographic dividends. Young people with their noble idea can augment tourism to every corner of the country, and thus help benefit cascade down to remote rural economy. Young people  need to  be  engaged with creating a  proper environment. They need to be oriented with the tourism industry and place them properly to connect all the segments of Bangladesh tourism industry.

The youth groups graduated from university can apply innovative technique with minimal budget out of their spirit. Korea, China and Singapore and many other countries reaped benefit out of their demographic dividends for economic growth. Bangladesh is also trying to follow them. According to BBS, currently working age population in Bangladesh is 106.1 m. Actual labour force is 62.1 m; 59.5 m employed in public and private sectors, 2.6m is still from National Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (NHTTI) in different disciplines. These skilled young groups can bring about a positive change of tourism industry of Bangladesh by 21.

BPC is very keen to work with NSDC in the area of creating desired number of skilled human resources to the achieve the SDGs. It has planned to develop community based tourism through provide training to thousands of local youth across the country. NSDC may provide direct fund to BPC for creating a pool of hospitality human resources to  achieve the  SDG  by  2030.  There  requires investment for creating young enterprises in tourism like tour operation companies, travel agencies, fast-food shops, spa centers, curry-shops etc. The young enterprisers need to be provided loan with less interest rate and on long term basis. BPC can also work on it by organizing seminar, meetings, symposiums, and youth carnivals etc. in this regard. We are very much optimistic that the tourism industry of Bangladesh with its skilled force can bring about a positive change in the economy of Bangladesh by 2030. Let’s work together for a brighter future of Bangladesh.