On April 13, 2023, a meeting took place in the 'Buriganga Hall' of the Dhaka South City Corporation Building, presided over by the esteemed Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation. The focus of the meeting was to discuss opportunities to expand the tourism sector by integrating historically and culturally significant heritage sites in Dhaka South City Corporation. This meeting was conducted as part of the ongoing 'Integrated Masterplan of Dhaka Metropolitan 2020-2050', while the primary goal was to outline heritage zones and corridors that connect historic sites.
The discussion emphasized the importance of preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Old Dhaka, which boasts a unique identity and sense of place. With 74 buildings listed by Rajuk and 1,157 identified by the Urban Study Group, the Mayor expressed optimism about unveiling architectural and historical gems to both local and international tourists.
Architect Professor Dr. Abu Sayeed M Ahmed, Dean of Asia Pacific University, put forward a proposal to develop seven heritage zones, each equipped with parking facilities. He suggested that the fifth heritage corridor, starting at Dhakeshwari Temple and continuing through Lalbagh Fort, Khan Md Mirdha Mosque, the Persian Wheel of Lalbagh Fort, and Delwar Hossain Playground, could serve as a pilot project due to its manageable area.
Eminent historian Professor Muntasir Mamun endorsed the proposal and stressed the importance of extending the heritage trails to include additional noteworthy sites, ultimately enriching the tourist experience. Valuable feedback and suggestions were provided by representatives from the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), the Department of Archaeology, hotel directors, travel agencies, urban planners, tour operators, and the Vice President of the Bangladesh Guest House Owners Association.
Architect Ziaul Sharif and Imamur Hossain represented the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh, as secretary and member of the Heritage and Culture committee, respectively. Architect Ziaul Sharif applauded the Mayor's dedication to preserving cultural heritage sites and elevating Dhaka's cultural significance. He proposed the adaptive reuse of historic buildings as tourist attractions and the establishment of motels at heritage sites. He also underscored the critical role of traffic management and control in ensuring the project's success.
The meeting participants expressed their collective determination to develop, manage, and promote the proposed heritage corridors, with the ultimate goal of transforming Dhaka into a dynamic tourist destination that showcases its rich cultural and historical offerings.