Coronavirus pushes BD tourism industry into dire straits
Published : Monday, 23 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 77
Like elsewhere across the world, the country's tourism sector is facing the worst setback as most local and foreign tourists have already cancelled their itinerary in Bangladesh on coronavirus fears
Tourism in the country is no more working as tour operators have folded their schedules after airports have been closed and flights cancelled.
The ban imposed by the authorities on Cox's Bazar sea beache and other entertainment spots has left a devastating message for the tourism sector. Besides other tourists spots in Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachari and other places are under the virtual lockdown situation shutting the movement of the tourists.
Movement has also been restricted in Sylhet, Moulvibazar and several other places. Besides, arrival of foreign tourists has come down to zero. The entire tourism sector of the country has collapsed, said a tourist operator.
Sources said about 80 percent of Bangladeshi tourists have canceled tour booking abroad in panic of coronavirus. They were booked for destinations in Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore, Thailand and others Asian sites.
Similarly, all foreign tourists have also canceled booking here in Bangladesh. The government visa restriction and fear of infections left most people in their countries in self-isolation to live in quarantine. They are not allowed to come outdoors least to go out for travel.
Tito Siddik, a local tour operator told the Daily Observer that tourism business has almost collapsed and its impact would be far reaching. Tourist hotels, motels, resorts and rest houses are almost empty. No new booking for rooms was made in past few weeks and earlier bookings were canceled.
World tourism has similarly collapsed. From London to New York, Paris, to Tokyo hotels, restaurants are almost empty, airports closed and all tourists' infrastructures are left vacant as a global recession is hitting.
All tourist spots in Cox's Bazar and hilly regions in Bangladesh remains empty after the government ban announced on Wednesday last. The ban on the sea beach has been imposed to prevent transmission of the virus from gathering.
Abdur Rahman a vendor at Laboni Point in the beach said that they have never seen such a situation before. "We sitting idle since morning; no buyer came to our shop so far."
Ma Ma Sing, a sales girl at Burmese market said that no goods were sold till afternoon from Thursday as not a single tourist ushered in the town.
Police in Chattogram port city have also imposed a ban on gathering at Patenga sea beach to prevent risk of spreading coronavirus. Chattogram Metropolitan Police commissioner Mahbubur Rahman said the ban came into effect from Wednesday afternoon.
Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) has demanded financial help to bail out the ailing businesses from collapse. "We are counting huge losses due to break down. We will not be able to stand again if the government does not help us," President of the organisation Md Rafeuzzaman said.
Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board Jabed Ahmed said a very rapidly growing industry is now in the brink. We need help to survive and run the industry.