Afroza Khan Mita, divisional director of Khulna and Barishal of the department, said: “People are interested in the historic mosque. However, many tourists do not visit it due to poor road transportation.
With the opening of the Padma Bridge, connecting the southwest of the country with the northern and eastern regions, the number of tourists visiting the site will increase. Residents of the capital will be able to reach the mosque in just three hours and return to Dhaka the same day, she said.
She said: “Not only will the number of tourists keen to see the mosque increase, but other archaeological sites in Khulna will also see an increase in the number of visitors.”
Currently, tourists can visit seven key archaeological sites in Khulna. There are over 100 historic sites in the division.
Mohammad Jayed, custodian of a museum on the premises of Shaṭ Gambuj Mosque, said around 2.5 lakh tourists visited the mosque in the current financial year, with the government earning 55 lakh in revenue.
He thinks the bridge will double or triple the number of visitors and revenue.
“We don’t have enough customers except in winter. But after the bridge opens, there will be a year-round tourist rush,” predicted Bagerhat hotelier Mohammad Kamruzzaman.
Visiting the Sundarbans just got easier
About 2.5 to 3 lakh tourists visit the Sundarbans – the largest mangrove forest in the world – every year, earning the government Tk3 crore in revenue.
“Currently, there are 7 ecotourism centers in the Sundarbans. We are expecting more tourists after the inauguration of the Padma Bridge. The forest department is constructing four tourist centers in advance,” TBS told TBS. Chief Conservator of Forests Mihir Kumar Doe.
Unesco declared the Sundarbans a World Heritage Site in 1997. He said the four newly built ecotourism centers will cater to the rush of tourists.
But, as the Sundarbans have a sensitive ecology, too many visitors will not be allowed in the mangrove forest at one time, according to Mihir Kumar.
Mohammad Belayet Hossain, Divisional Forestry Officer (East Sundarbans), said ease of transport is a prerequisite for the development of the tourism industry.
“Due to the lack of better means of transport, the number of visitors to the Sundarbans has been low. The Padma Bridge will solve the problem, as both domestic and foreign tourists can easily visit the mangrove forest.
Niyamul Islam, a tour guide in Bagerhat, said that if the number of tourists increases, different establishments will be established by the government as well as private entrepreneurs. And it will create jobs for local residents.
Bagerhat Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Azizur Rahman said the administration is taking various initiatives to make Bagerhat more attractive to domestic and foreign tourists.
“Already 80% of construction work for a three star hotel has been completed at a cost of Tk 12.77 crore by Parjatan Corporation. In addition, 100 people are being trained as tour guides under the initiative of the district administration,” he said. Noted.
He said that the development of the local tourist industry will create several thousand jobs in Bagerhat and further improve the living standards of the population.