Kuakata to reopen to tourists Thursday
After 139 days of closure, tourist attractions in Kuakata will reopen on Thursday (August 19).
Following the announcement, businesses at the 18 km long Kuakata sea beach are gearing up for reopening. Hotels, motels and restaurants are being cleaned. Dry fish traders, shopkeepers, photographers, drivers, tea sellers, snack vendors, tour operators operating at the tourist sites have started to reorganise, reports our Patuakhali correspondent.
After Patuakhali district administration closed Kuakata to tourists on April 1, around 150 residential hotels and motels were vacant and all tourism-oriented businesses were closed.
Nazrul Islam, a restaurant owner, said his establishment used to sell food worth Tk 20,000 to Tk 25,000 daily. "Since the restaurant was closed, employees were sent on leave. But they got engaged in other activities during this period. Now, we are facing staff crisis," he said.
Ruman Imtiaz Tushar, president of Tour Operators Association of Kuakata (TOAK), said tourism business had come to a standstill due to the pandemic. Many had to close their businesses due to lack of visitors.
Motaleb Sharif, general secretary of the Hotel-Metal Owners Association, said in the last one and a half years, the hotel business sector incurred at least Tk 200 crore loss.
"In total, Kuakata's tourism-related businesses, including hotels, suffered losses worth Tk 2,000 crore," Motaleb said.
"I am hopeful that Kuakata will return to normalcy when tourism opens," he said.
Kalapara Upazila Nirbahi Officer Abu Hasnat Mohammad Shahidul Haque said tourist centres, resorts and recreation venues will be allowed to run at half capacity, maintaining hygiene.
Legal action will be taken against those who violate the heath guidelines, he said.