Tour operators urged the government to reopen all tourist spots of the country maintaining health guidelines.
“Reopening tourist spots maintaining health safety guidelines and standard operating procedures will allow the tourism industry to recover the losses it has incurred due to the pandemic and prevent further damage to this sector,” Rafeuzzaman, president of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), said at press conference at Jatiya Press Cluib in Dhaka Thursday.
TOAB president said tourism, the third-largest industry of the world, had been going through a tough time as the global spread of coronavirus stopped the movement of tourists.
According to the TOAB, Bangladesh’s tourism sector lost Tk 20,000 crore due to the pandemic in 2020. It said the sector has already lost Tk 5,700 crore till May this year.
TOAB predicted if the restrictions on the industry continue till the end of current year, the tourism industry may incur the losses of Tk 9,000 crore.
Speaking about the allocation proposed in the national budget for FY 2021-22, the TOAB president said, “The government has proposed only Tk 4,032 crore, which is about Tk 344 crore more than the allocation of the previous fiscal year. This is never enough for the sector under the current circumstances.” “If the government doesn’t consider the crisis of the sector, it would be impossible for us to survive,” he said, adding that there should be a direction on how to come out of the financial crisis that the industry had been facing.
TOAB also placed several demands including reopening of tourist spots following health safety guidelines and standard operating procedures, providing financial support to the tour operators, canceling the trade licence renewal fee for next year, vaccinating TOAB members, officials, and their family members on a priority basis and establishing a separate ministry for the development and expansion of the tourism industry.