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 â€śan extremely new emerging market with corporate travel management in its infancyâ€ť, Benson Tang, CTC executive director, said the event would be a â€śvery simple travel management 101 introductionâ€ť.
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, Bangladeshâ€™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 â€“ including microfinance and computing â€“ makes up more than half of the countryâ€™s GDP.
Hong Kong-based Florence Robert, regional travel manager Asia-Pacific, Ericsson, said that Bangladesh’s â€ś(corporate travel) market is still immatureâ€ť, adding that there were â€śno easy forms of payment and online corporate toolsâ€ť.
â€śThere is only basic access, limited (booking) tools and it is difficult to get LCCs or Internet promotional fares,â€ť she noted.
Commenting that his companyâ€™s Bangladesh corporate travel programme is â€śquite basic and manualâ€ť, a Shanghai-based corporate travel manager called it “sufficient, as the footprint and number of travellers are smallâ€ť.
He noted that Bangladesh was â€śconsidered a country with elevated risk for travellers from a security perspective, and general safety during the rainy season.”
â€śTravel 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,â€ť he added.
A Singapore-based corporate travel manager whose company did not have a full office yet in Bangladesh, said travel there was â€śproject-basedâ€ť 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.
â€śBut 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,â€ť he commented.