On Saturday 5 July, 2014, brave British newspaper The Guardian did an article on Bangladesh as a holiday destination with a title of 'Big Bang." A small voice that tried to showcase there might be more to Bangladesh than meets the eye. They were the first to agree to fly out with me - to investigate my theory that Bangladesh is ready to be a new holiday destination.
Here are some examples of scarily 'enlightened' comments - which by the way I enjoyed reading:
Hmm. Ok. Could do but given the nation is the only one to have longest beach in the world - where do I turn right out of Tooting tube to find that?
Glad you find them cool. I do too. Here's My #lightbulb - (sorry penny's thought) moment for you. Could be.... they are travel writers and their job is to suffer the pain, the highs, the lows so they can come back, write their hearts our honestly so they get to tell you and me all about it? Just so we can then get to leave our stream of subconscious comments? :)
"what has this correspondent been smoking.The bloody country should go in guiness book of record as to have nothing to see, nothing to offer, no infrastructure worth its name and all that romanticsm about the wild....leave it here...."
If I was her, I might be tempted to reach for something strong judging by the amount of crass, racist comments left. Ha ha. Surely the Guinness Book Of Records has Bangladesh listed for longest beach in the world and has the largest mangrove forest. Wait. Let me help you. Scroll below as I just added images so you can see these in real life.
Yup - I sure empathise mate. Ratholes I also see when spotting the poor and destitute sleeping along the walls of London. But of course when it is in our back yard - we immediately empathise and call it London's 'tragedy'.
Of course it is important to stay and show positivity - yay! So instead or writing pointed statements I like to go and get all warm and fluffy at the thought provoking comments from those willing to give Bangladesh a chance:
"Good luck with your enterprise,Yasmin. In particular, the idea of encouraging British Bangladeshis (especially those born in the UK) to appreciate the beauty of their homeland and consider it as a holiday destination seems very worthwhile. I`m an Englishman who works in Bethnal Green with lots of British Bangladeshis, and this article has made me determined to visit one day."
WHO COULD HELP TO STOP THIS DISSING? SERIOUSLY?
Quite frankly uninformed opinion and negative comments simply serve to show more importantly the stigma and the fear and anxiety many have about travelling to developing nations. Which is why I wish the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) or the ridiculous sounding UNOHRLLS* (the UN body for developing nations) - would step up and address. Better still guys and gals - why not reply to me when I write in offering you suggestions? Work with me?
*United Nations Office Of The High Representative For The Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and The Small Island Developing States; (did you manage to catch your breath - nope neither did I).
The Bangladesh Tourism Board could also do so much more. Listen and take the fears of tourists and travel opinion formers seriously. As well as the World Travel Market who must make a concerted effort to showcase developing nations who lack the immense marketing budgets of say India, Brazil, Russia, USA etc
Anyway I guess I knew doing Lovedesh would be hard work. Must stop ranting. I guess it will take baby steps. But this is where I have to be the change I want to see - in order to deliver change. And to show my faith in Bangladesh, I am compelled to put my neck on the line here. I am asking 12 people to join me to travel to Bangladesh in November. Let's see if the bookings come eh?
See the film below of the Lovedesh Voyage To Bangladesh, a 13 day trip where travellers can experience what The Guardian had.
I hope watching this helps demonstrate it can be a holiday destination. But here is even more I hope will persuade you.
|Island off Cox's Bazar.|
|Me with the surfer boys (Ramjan and Rashed) in Cox's Bazar.|
|Sunderbans fishermen & Otters, a dying tradition due to climate change.|
|Pioneer Nazim Kamran Choudhury's Nazimgarh Wilderness Resort's infinity pool.|
|Shuktara Nature Resort, Sylhet designed by Bangladesh female architect Syeda Zarina Hossain on her ancestral land.|
|Luxury Dusai Resort & Spa, in Mouvli Bazaar.|
|Ocean Paradise hotel room in Cox's Bazar - longest beach.|