Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bangladesh forms new police unit for protection of tourists

"Bangladesh has formed a new police unit to ensure more protection for local and foreign tourists and tourism spots in the South Asian country, a senior spokesman of Bangladesh Police said on Sunday.

'We've formed the new unit -- Tourist Police -- to ensure foolproof security of all local and foreign tourists in the country,' Assistant Inspector General of Bangladesh Police Md Nazrul Islam told Xinhua on Sunday.

He said the newly formed Tourist Police unit, which started its journey on Sunday from the country's southeastern Cox's Bazar Sea Beach, some 391 km away of capital city Dhaka, will expand its network to other tourist spots.

Side by side ensuring security, Islam said the police unit has also been assigned for conducting rescue operations.

Another main task for this particular unit is to look after the nature and wildlife in the tourist spots, he said, adding 'We hope that the foundation of the unit will help restore more confidence among local and foreign tourists regarding safety and security.'

According to statistics of the country's National Tourism Authority (NTA), a total of 349,837 foreign tourists visited Bangladesh in 2008, about 21 percent higher than that in 2007.

Despite the rise in number of tourists' visits, the incomes from the tourism sector in 2008 came down to 4. 60 billion taka (about 65.7 million U.S. dollars) in 2008 from 5.27 billion taka (about 75.3 million U.S. dollars) in 2007, the NTA figure showed.

The lack of adequate security and poor infrastructure were largely blamed for lower tourist arrivals in the country's many remote tourism spots, which officials said virtually prompted the authorities to create the new unit."
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