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Amusement parks turn over Tk 5,000cr annually

Investment in Bangladesh's amusement and theme park segment is on the rise as investors are pumping money into the fast-expanding industry to serve visitors, according to industry people.

About Tk 12,000 crore has been invested in the sector in the last two decades and about 6 lakh people have been employed directly, according to the Bangladesh Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (BAAPA).

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"Businesspeople have not been able to utilise even 20 percent of the sector's potential yet," said Anup Kumar Sarkar, chief marketing officer of Concord Group of Companies, which operates Fantasy Kingdom and Foy's Lake through Concord Entertainment Co Ltd.

"There is huge potential to do good business in this segment and this potential should be exploited."

The discussion was organised as part of a four-day tourism fair styled "Bangladesh Festival", which began yesterday.

Bangladesh got its first park in 1979 when the government set up Shishu Park in the capital's Shahbag. Shishumela Park in Shyamoli opened six years later.

Set up in 1990, Wonderland amusement park in Gulshan was the country's first private sector park, which was demolished two decades later for being built on a piece of government land.

Currently, there are more than 300 amusement and theme parks in Bangladesh. Of them, over 100 parks are members of the BAAPA. The annual turnover of the sector is Tk 5,000 crore, according to the trade body.

The number of people who visit the parks owned by the members of the association stands at 6 crore annually, which include about 50,000 foreign tourists.

If new facilities are put in place and service quality improved, the number of visitors will surge, industry people say.

"You will have to keep pace with changing times. Otherwise, it will be difficult to provide services as per expectations of visitors," said Anup Kumar Sarkar, while speaking at the seminar.

He says security and road communication are the main concerns for any park and tourist spots.

Sarkar requested the Bangladesh Tourism Board to discuss with authorities so that tourist police can support amusement parks and road communication systems are improved.

He urged the government to provide land to develop amusement parks across the country as people's per capita income has risen and they are eager to spend for entertainment purposes.

Soyeb Zaman, corporate manager of Morjal Wonder Land Park in Narsingdi, said since amusement parks are a priority service industry as per National Industrial Policy 2022, all facilities should be ensured.

He said the establishment of amusement parks often requires significant infrastructure development, including road network and accommodation in surrounding areas.

"Police should be deployed at the amusement parks to ensure the safety of visitors. A strong foundation is needed for further development of the sector. Everyone needs to cooperate."

Zaman suggested introducing tourist buses at reasonable fares, developing the skills of industry people, and encouraging new graduates to build their career in the growing industry.

Mahabubul Hassan, manager of Anwar City Magic Island in Keraniganj, said when they started the venture, it was located over 100 acres of land. Now, the park area has been expanded to 300 acres.

"Soon several new features will be added."

Jabed Ahmed, a senior consultant at the United Nations Development Programme Bangladesh, said amusement parks should be promoted in both local and international markets.