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Sundarbans open to tourists from tomorrow

Sundarbans open to tourists from tomorrow
  • Staff Correspondent
  • 31 August, 2021 12:00 AM
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Tourists from home and abroad will be able to visit the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, from tomorrow.

The government decided to allow tourists and issue pass permits for extraction of resources from the forest. The decision was taken at a meeting of local forest officials and leaders of Tour Operators Association of Sundarbans, Khulna on Sunday.

Divisional Forest Officer of Sundarbans West Dr Abu Naser Mohsin said, “Though all the tourist spots of the country have been reopened since August 19, no decision had been taken regarding the Sundarbans. A meeting was held with the local officials and tour operators on Sunday as per the instructions of the senior officials on whether the Sundarbans will be reopened from September 1 or not.”

“The meeting decided to allow tourists to enter the Sundarbans from September 1 but not more than 75 people will be allowed to travel in a launch,” he added.

“The tourists and tour operators will have to follow the ‘Sundarbans Travel Policy’ approved by the cabinet division,” the forest official said, adding that social distancing and hygiene rules must be obeyed and sanitiser should be provided with the tourists.

Following the reopening decision, tourists will be able to visit Karamjal, Katka, Kochikhali, Harbaria, Hiran Point, Dubla and Nilkamal points, along the coast and in various places in the forest through launches, tour boats, trawlers and other boats.

President of the Tour Operators Association of Sundarbans, Khulna M Nazmul Azam David said there are more than 100 tour operators in Khulna. Of them, 63 are registered.

About 1,500 officials and employees are involved in tourism centring on the Sundarbans.

Tour operators have suffered huge losses due to the ban on entering the forest, he said.

Tourists were barred from entering the Sundarbans for about seven months from March 19 to October 31 last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When the country witnessed a spike in the coronavirus cases, the forest department banned tourists from entering the Sundarbans again from April 3 to April 15 this year.

Later, the forest department extended the ban in phases until the latest meeting.