The tourism sector may get a lease of new life with the footsteps of the holidaymakers thronging different attractive spots in huge numbers ahead of a three-day vacation.
Tourism sector insiders are expecting to recover a partial loss incurred for the Covid-19 restrictions.
They expect that the three-day vacation, which will start today with a weekend and end on Sunday with Christmas Day, are expected to be a boon for Cox’s Bazar’s tourism sector.
The demand for domestic travel is significantly higher this year compared to the recent past, while a good number of foreign trip makers have booked hotel rooms in advance to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Cox’s Bazar Hotel, Motel, Guesthouse Owner’s Association president Abul Kashem Sikder said some 450 hotels, 20 of which are 3-stars equivalent, in the beach city are ready to welcome the guests during the vacation.
“Hotel authorities and other stakeholders completed preparatory works, including cleaning, washing and repainting their respective establishments in order to provide quality services for tourists. Now it’s time to welcome guests,” he said.
According to hoteliers, the majority of rooms in most hotels and motels are booked as of Sunday.
“We had fewer regular visitors coming to Cox’s Bazar though the numbers increased a bit on the weekends. But, the good thing is that we are facing huge pressure from tourists ahead of the vacation. Around 80 percent of our rooms have already been booked till Sunday,” he said. Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s longest natural sea beach, is blessed with a plenty of other sights. These include the Marine Drive, the Himchhari Waterfall, the rocky beaches of Inani and Patuartek, the Burmese Market in the city, the Adinath Temple in Maheshkhali, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park in Dulahazara and the Buddhist monastery in Ramu.
Families are targeting the holidays as the final examinations of their children have ended and educational institutions are yet to resume classes.
Anticipating a massive tourist influx, the local administration and law enforcement agencies have made extensive preparations to serve and protect them from any form of harassment.
Md Zillur Rahman, superintendent of police of Tourist Police in Cox’s Bazar region, said tourist police have taken strict security measures at all tourist centres in Cox’s Bazar, including beaches, to ensure a hassle-free experience for visitors during the holidays.
“Round-the-clock beach-bike, water-bike and motorbike patrol teams have been deployed at various points of the city to prevent unsavoury incidents such as muggings, sexual harassment and other inconveniences faced by tourists,” he said.
He also said that a watch tower and seven observation centres have been set up to monitor the overall situation.
The district administration is prioritising the safety and security of tourists, Additional District Magistrate Abu Sufiyan said.
“Four mobile courts headed by executive magistrates will also be deployed to prevent any type of harassment and untoward incidents. The office of the District Tourism Cell at the beach’s Laboni Point will be open round the clock to monitor the overall situation,” he said.
At least 500,000 arrivals are expected during the three-day holidays but it is not possible for more than 150,000 tourists to stay in Cox’s Bazar’s residential hotels each day.
Taking advantage of the situation, a group of unscrupulous traders can be on the prowl in a bid to cash in on the holiday fervour by overcharging tourists for food and accommodation.
Sufiyan said they will take immediate action at the field level if they get any complaints against hotels and restaurants overcharging holidaymakers.