SATTE invests in Bangladeshi emerging corporate travel sector

; Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital city pictured

Corporate travel in Bangladesh will get a shot in the arm this year when the first SATTE, organised by Informa Markets India, will be held in Dhaka from August 19-20 and incorporate a Corporate Travel Day by CTC (Corporate Travel Community).

Describing Bangladesh as “an extremely new emerging market with corporate travel management in its infancy”, Benson Tang, CTC executive director, said the event would be a “very simple travel management 101 introduction”.

The corporate travel management sector is in its infancy stages in Bangladesh, with room for growth; Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city pictured

CTC, he added, was looking at flying in travel managers to showcase case studies on corporate travel management, starting from scratch to the more sophisticated.

According to a recent World Economic Forum report, Bangladesh’s GDP growth rate in 2020 is forecast to be eight per cent and the economy is diversifying. Apart from the garment trade, the services sector – including microfinance and computing – makes up more than half of the country’s GDP.

Hong Kong-based Florence Robert, regional travel manager Asia-Pacific, Ericsson, said that Bangladesh’s “(corporate travel) market is still immature”, adding that there were “no easy forms of payment and online corporate tools”.

“There is only basic access, limited (booking) tools and it is difficult to get LCCs or Internet promotional fares,” she noted.

Commenting that his company’s Bangladesh corporate travel programme is “quite basic and manual”, a Shanghai-based corporate travel manager called it “sufficient, as the footprint and number of travellers are small”.

He noted that Bangladesh was “considered a country with elevated risk for travellers from a security perspective, and general safety during the rainy season.”

“Travel there is restricted to those with a real need, and there are very few expatriates based there. Outbound is also limited as the office there is small, with less than 100 trips in and out,” he added.

A Singapore-based corporate travel manager whose company did not have a full office yet in Bangladesh, said travel there was “project-based” or involved major milestones like vendor qualification, before the award of the contract, then maybe once or twice in the life of a one- to two-year project.

“But I can share that the region is a hotbed for outsourcing and centralisation of services, so it is probably becoming quite a popular business destination,” he commented.

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