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 ‚Äúan extremely new emerging market with corporate travel management in its infancy‚ÄĚ, Benson Tang, CTC executive director, said the event would be a ‚Äúvery simple travel management 101 introduction‚ÄĚ.
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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď including microfinance and computing ‚Äď makes up more than half of the country‚Äôs GDP.
Hong Kong-based Florence Robert, regional travel manager Asia-Pacific, Ericsson, said that Bangladesh’s ‚Äú(corporate travel) market is still immature‚ÄĚ, adding that there were ‚Äúno easy forms of payment and online corporate tools‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThere is only basic access, limited (booking) tools and it is difficult to get LCCs or Internet promotional fares,‚ÄĚ she noted.
Commenting that his company‚Äôs Bangladesh corporate travel programme is ‚Äúquite basic and manual‚ÄĚ, a Shanghai-based corporate travel manager called it “sufficient, as the footprint and number of travellers are small‚ÄĚ.
He noted that Bangladesh was ‚Äúconsidered a country with elevated risk for travellers from a security perspective, and general safety during the rainy season.”
‚ÄúTravel 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,‚ÄĚ he added.
A Singapore-based corporate travel manager whose company did not have a full office yet in Bangladesh, said travel there was ‚Äúproject-based‚ÄĚ 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.
‚ÄúBut 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,‚ÄĚ he commented.