April 10, 2006


This type of advertisements are all over in Germany, in buses, newspapers, billboards to promote tourism to India. And I am sure this program runs in many countries. But where is Bangladesh in this regard? I had to mention India's name to several people while trying to explain the location of Bangladesh, whose name they have seldom heard. I have explained in one of my posts "Why Bangladesh is struggling to lure tourists". You will be surprised to know that:
"In 2003-04, the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, which is responsible for marketing tourism, was given only 10 million taka (about US$158,000). But for the fiscal years 2004-05 and 2005-06, "no funds have been allocated" making it impossible to conduct marketing campaigns in a highly competitive market."
This should have been the end of the post. But I have more surprises in contrast. Blogger cum journalist Tasneem Khalil reveals that:
Bangladesh has given Ketchum’s The Washington Group a six-month $330K contract to improve its image in the U.S. to "dispel misconceptions about alleged human rights abuses, corrupt government practices and Islamist militancy".
Tasneem further reveals that Bangladesh has appointed at least 3 Public Relation lobbyists in USA for "uplifting the country’s image" with a budget of over a million dollars. And the opposition alleges:
The government has been spending huge public money secretly at the fag end of its tenure to hide its endless corruption and failures, and to protect its interest. A lobbyist was appointed for arranging Prime Minister's visit to America, bring President George W Bush to Dhaka and hyping the image of BNP-Jamaat alliance.
And last of all my apprehensions about TIME magazine's latest report on Bangladesh may be true. Was a lobbyist at work behind the report as alleged by the opposition, and the previous reports as alleged by the government?


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