Tourist spots reopen after 5 months
People involved with tourism, hotel and motel businesses breathed a sigh of relief as all tourist spots and parks reopened yesterday, after almost five months, despite ongoing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public health experts, however, urged the government to ensure proper health guidelines are maintained at tourist spots.
Staff members and officials of different hotels in Cox's Bazar, one of the most popular holiday destinations, said they are ready to welcome tourists in compliance with the government's health safety guidelines and regulations.
Advanced bookings have already started in hotels and motels, they added.
Two private airlines have also increased the number of flights to different tourist destinations, including Cox's Bazar.
On August 12, the government said all tourist spots, resorts and recreation centres would reopen from August 19 (yesterday).
In a notification, the cabinet division said they will be allowed to operate at half capacity while following health safety protocols.
Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), a platform of around 700 tour operators, said the tourism sector has incurred a loss of Tk 20,000 crore last year due to the pandemic.
Several lakh people involved with this sector had been spending their days in a sorry state due to the closure of tourist spots for around 19 months, with a gap after the first lockdown last year.
TOAB President Md Rafeuzzaman yesterday told The Daily Star that without reopening inbound and outbound tourism, this sector won't be able to bounce back from the losses.
In Chattogram, many people, with friends and/or family, were seen coming out of their homes and roaming around different tourist spots.
However, the turnout of visitors on the first day at different tourists' sites, including Foy's Lake Amusement Park, Swadhinata Complex, Chattogram Zoo, Patenga Sea Beach and Karnaphuli Park, was low due to rough weather.
During a visit to different spots, it was seen that visitors were not allowed to enter without face masks.
In Foy's Lake Concord Amusement Park, staffers were seen with disinfectant sprays at the entry point.
Dulal Karmakar, a visitor, went to the park with his family. He said they were exhausted from spending months at home and came to the park for some refreshment.
Bishwajit Ghosh, deputy manager of Foy's Lake Concord Amusement Park said they are following the instructions and health safety guidelines issued by the government.
The Chattogram district administration strictly instructed the authorities of all tourist centres to allow visitors at half capacity. It also instructed them to strictly follow health rules and ensure face masks were used.