Tourism springs to life

Sohel Hossain Patwary

3 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Tourism springs to life

Some tourists are enjoying the scenic beauty of a waterfall in the popular tourist spot Jaflong in Sylhet district on Wednesday. The tourist spots in the district draw huge visitors round the year. – Reaz Ahmed Sumon

With the reopening of tourism spots after six months of closure amid the corona pandemic, avid travellers have started thronging popular tourism destinations and helping the tourism sector to rejuvenate after a prolonged slowdown.

Since the reopening of tourism spots across the country, the tourism and hospitality sector is now putting their best efforts to recover the losses they incurred over the last six months.

Hotels, motels, cottages, and restaurants and other business establishments and leisure centres are abuzz with tourists again, showing a sign of recovery in the sector.  The government started lifting the ban on visits to tourist destinations from mid-August, subject to compliance with health guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Amid the coronavirus spread, the local administration has remained vigilant so that visitors can visit the sites only on some conditions, which include maintaining health guidelines and physical distancing.

Popular destinations like Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Madhabkunda, Lawachara, Bichanakandi, Ratargul, Jaflong, Tanguar Haor, Kishoreganj, Sundarban, and other spots have returned to life with the buzz of tourists.

Abul Kasem Sikder, general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar Hotel Owners’ Association, said Cox’s Bazar tourism and hospitality industry faced huge losses with many people losing their jobs and establishment shutting down.

Expressing a sigh of hope, Abul Kasem said the reopening of Cox’s Bazar tourism following the health guidelines will help bring back the tourism industry to normalcy.

Various sources at Sylhet informed that destinations like Madhabkunda, Lawachara, Bichanakandi, Ratargul, Jaflong, Gowainghat, and Haor areas have been packed with tourists over the last two weeks.

After a pronged lockdown period amid the corona pandemic, exhausted people are now desperate to sip the beauty of nature with their family members, said the tourism experts.

Arman Ahmed, who went to Sylhet with his family, said his family members have become exhausted staying at home for long, that’s why everyone was too thirsty to go on a family tour.

“We visited every popular spot in Sylhet and it feels reenergizing after a long time,” he said.

Mohammad Badruzzaman Bhuiyan, chairman of the Tourism and Hospitality Management Department at Dhaka University, said the tourism sector is one of the key drivers of Bangladesh’s economy. The sector faced unprecedented losses due to the coronavirus.

The reopening of the tourism destinations can help this sector recover the losses and the government should adopt a concrete move to sprout its best from this thriving sector, said Badruzzaman Bhuiyan.

Motiur Rahman, CEO of No Border Tourism, said Covid-19 pushed them so hard that they are now on the verge of collapse.

“Economy has been rebounding. We are also looking forward to recovering our losses in the coming days,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, the tourism industry of the country almost remained halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the estimated loss of about Tk 14,000 crore.

It is also estimated that around 4 million people in this sector had become unemployed amid the coronavirus crisis.