DHAKA- A new feather has been added to the country’s hospitality industry with inauguration of another state-owned five-star hotel in the city’s heart of the lush green Ramna Park area yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the “InterContinental Dhaka” this evening, hoping that the complete green hotel with the latest facilities would be able to charm world customers and attract foreign tourists.
Sheikh Hasina said the country is needed more posh hotels as the flow of foreign investors, tourists and visitors is on rise with economic progress of the country.
The prime minister said the InterContinental carries many memories and evidences of Bangladesh’s glorious history and heritage. Many important political events at the time of the War of Liberation were held in this hotel.
She said most of the foreign journalists were staying in the hotel when Pakistan occupation force started their crackdown on Bengalee people on March 25 in 1971.
The government kept all journalists under lock and key in the hotel to keep their atrocities in dark, she added.
But Simon Dring was the first man who fled the confinement with the help of hotel staffs and disseminated the news and photograph of the brutality of the Pakistanis, the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina recalled that the hotel came under attack by the Crack Platoon of Sector-2 two times in 1971 and “Intercontinental hit and run’ was the first guerrilla operation successfully conducted by the valiant Freedom Fighters.
“From that operation the whole world came to know about the fierce resistance of Bangalees against the Pakistani occupation forces,” she said.
“Now the hotel with a new look has added a new dimension to the constant success of Bangladesh and it would carry the memories of the liberation war,” she said.
Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism AKM Shahjahan Kamal, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Faruk Khan and Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque and regional director of InterContinental Hotel Group David Todd also spoke on the occasion.
Mokammel Hossain, Managing Director of Bangladesh Services Ltd, a public limited company engaged in hospitality business and operating body of the hotel, gave welcome address.
The Intercontinental Hotel Dhaka, formerly known as Ruposhi Bangla and Sheraton, has been inaugurated after four years of renovation work. However, commercial operation of the hotel will begin in November next after completing training to its staffs.
The 226 room hotel with minimum size of 40 square metres each has 201 premium or deluxe rooms, 10 deluxe suites, five superior suites, five diplomatic suites and five presidential suites.
The prime minister said the 60-years old hotel has been renovated keeping its structure of the main building intact but adding the taste of local culture, heritage and Mughal architecture. The renovation was very crucial to sustain the competition, she added.
The prime minister said the officials and employees of the hotel were given training abroad to make them befitting to international standard. The guests of the hotel would get Intercontinental services which they get across the world, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said people of Bangladesh have got back their rights of food and franchise during the regime of Awami League. People have also got back their glories, which were undermined after the killing of the Father of the Nation.
The prime minister said Bangladesh’s democracy is now established on a strong foundation. Plundering of public money, terrorism and militancy were uprooted while poverty is declining fast, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the rate of literacy has been increased while trades and businesses are getting better. Grassroots people are reaping the benefits of development, he said adding “We have to continue the development for our future progress.”
High-quality furnishings with opulent, expensive touches, aesthetic detail, quiet room with fresh air from city’s largest greenery Ramna Park, the InterContinental Dhaka would offer the guests a unique feeling of world class entertainment, officials said.
The renovation work of the hotel began in 2014 following British global hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Bangladesh Services Ltd (BSL) signed an agreement to manage the property for 30 years. Now the hotel is getting back its previous InterContinental name.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the plaque and visited different sections of the hotel.