Cox’s Bazar is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bangladesh. It is situated in the southeastern region of the country and is home to a beautiful sandy beach. As the nation continues to develop, an increasing number of people are visiting Cox’s Bazar every year. The beach town contributes significantly to the national economy and has served as a highly attractive destination for men, women and children to enjoy their leisure time. Residents of Cox’s Bazar and nearby areas have benefited significantly from tourism as many make their livelihoods from this industry. The standards of living of the people in the region have risen sharply due to Cox’s Bazar’s thriving tourism.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2019, the Bangladeshi tourism industry made up 3 per cent of the national GDP, which amounts to BDT 772.7 billion. The country’s tourism industry experienced a growth of 6.8 per cent in 2019. A large portion of the revenue that is generated from travel and tourism in Bangladesh is a result of tourist activities in Cox’s Bazar. Cox’s Bazar has the longest uninterrupted natural sea beach in the world which stretches over 100 kilometers. Bangladesh’s tropical weather allows people to visit Cox’s Bazar all year round, making it a consistently lively tourist destination. Inani and Himchori are also attractive tourist destinations in the Cox’s Bazar district. Located close to the town center, they provide a serene atmosphere with rocky beaches. The newly constructed Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive is a 80 kilometer road which provides travelers a wonderful view of the sea beach on one side and hills on the other. The smooth road also gives visitors an excellent driving experience along a scenic route. Saint Martin’s Island, located on the southernmost part of the Cox’s Bazar district, is a coral reef which is another thriving tourist spot.In Cox’s Bazar, men, women and children flock the sandy beaches to spend valuable leisure time. Restaurants and cafes are usually bustling with tourists as they try local specialties, especially the seafood. The Burmese markets provide visitors beach souvenirs and unique products from neighbouring Myanmar. Some individuals enjoy paragliding, parasailing, surfing and so on. A wide range of accommodations are available. Luxury hotels and resorts have been built to cater to the needs of the affluent tourists. These establishments provide world class facilities to give the guests a memorable experience. More modest accommodations are also available for visitors with lower budgets. This is a reflection of how people from all walks of life in Bangladesh choose to spend vacations in Cox’s Bazar. In recent times, large companies have been arranging “corporate retreats” in Cox’s Bazar to uplift their employees, boosting Cox’s Bazar’s tourism revenues even further.
While Cox’s Bazar’s contribution to the national economy is tremendous, there are ways by which it can be increased even further. The hills in the region are very scenic, but are still largely unexplored. Mountain-trails can be made across hilly areas to allow tourists a proper view of the sea. Eco-cottages can be built in specific locations around the hillside where visitors will be able to spend nights in a beautiful, quiet and peaceful environment.
The Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary is a nicely constructed animal sanctuary. This can be promoted further as the area is home to unique wildlife and has attractive hills and greenery. Zoos and Safari Parks can be made to provide tourists, particularly those with children, additional attractive options while spending their vacations in Cox’s Bazar. The construction of a high quality amusement park in a remote location that is relatively close to the town center can also be considered since tourists are always on the lookout for new and enjoyable activities. Beach sports facilities can be improved since a significant portion of the tourists are young people who enjoy the challenge and thrill associated with such activities. More luxury resorts can be constructed in relatively remote locations since an increasing number of urban Bangladeshis prefer to temporarily escape the hassle and chaos of large cities to spend quality time in accommodations that offer peace and quiet.
Until now, Cox’s Bazar has primarily received local tourists. While the tourist destination does not currently possess the facilities that can attract tourists on a global scale, measures can be taken to turn Cox’s Bazar into a popular tourist hub in South Asia. People from neighbouring areas such as eastern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka can be targeted through campaigns to encourage them to visit Cox’s Bazar. Additional campaign targeting non-Bangladeshis living in Bangladesh can be launched. It should be noted that all development activities need to be carried out while minimising the risks to the natural environment.
For years, Cox’s Bazar has served as the premier tourist destination of Bangladesh. It has provided Bangladeshis a highly valuable option of enjoying a quality beach experience within their own country. People from diverse socioeconomic groups continue to enjoy a thrilling experience as they visit this town in southeastern Bangladesh. The country’s economy has vastly benefitted from the revenues earned from tourism. The local population and people from surrounding areas have made decent livelihoods due to the income generated from tourism. With some developments, it can be expected that Cox’s Bazar will significantly advance and transform into a regional tourism hotspot.
The writer is a Development professional. He can be
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