Rohingya influx may affect tourism | 2017-10-05 |

Rohingya influx may affect tourism

    4th October, 2017 10:49:57 printer

With the tourism season nearing, stakeholders in the tourism industry are increasingly becoming worried about the likely negative impacts of Rohingya influx on businesses in the tourist town of Cox's Bazar. The city attracts a huge number of tourists and it is one of the prime tourism destinations to both domestic and foreign tourists. It is feared that the vibe of the city as a major tourism destination might be severely affected if Rohingyas come to find a living by exploiting the huge presence of tourists.

Due to an inadequate number of shelters to house the new arrivals after 25th August, many Rohingyas have spilled out of refugee camps. Vast areas near the coast and where installations are set up for tourists are now almost taken over by a sea of makeshift tents, the homes of Rohingyas.

These hungry and needy people are likely to enter the tourist areas, in search of jobs or any other means to earn money, along the miles long beach that attracts thousands of tourists to do picnic and splash in the sea water. And this is how they can spoil the relaxing moments of families who come to sit under umbrellas and of young couples who come to find quiet moments in the calmness of nature. This disturbance is also very likely to change the decision of many prospective visitors.

Lack of visitors in the peak tourism season in around 500 hotels, motels and restaurants in Cox's Bazar due to the likely disturbing presence of Rohingyas will lead to a huge loss of business. These business institutions earn their lion's share of income during the period. So their economic losses will cause the economy to suffer immensely.

Those who are involved in the tourism industry are sympathetic to the plight of the starving and sick Rohingyas, but they cannot afford to count heavy losses due to uncontrolled movement of Rohingya people in the tourism areas in the upcoming peak season. The authorities concerned should take immediate steps to limit movements of Rohingyas within restricted zones. They should also ensure that the influx of Rohingyas cannot pass a negative message to the prospective tourists.