Tourist activity rebounds in Cox’s Bazar

COX’S BAZAR: Tourist arrivals are on the rise as tourist sites, resorts and recreation centers, including Cox’s Bazar beach, have reopened despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tourism industry is starting to revive after an 11-month government-imposed lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19. Tourism in Cox’s Bazar, an international tourist destination, has started to pick up again. Some tourist sites are made more attractive to tourists by developing infrastructure.

Apart from Cox’s Bazar Beach, all tourist spots including Dulahazara Bangabandhu Safari Park, Ramu Buddhist Monastery, Botanical Garden, Mathiner Koop, Himchhari, Adinath Temple, Patuartek, Darianagar, Inani Pathar Beach, l Jalia Island are now tourist attractions.

Every day a large number of domestic and foreign tourists come here. There are no free places in more than 450 hotels, motels and guesthouses on weekends.

However, hotel and motel owners have stressed the need to increase facilities for tourists, as 70 percent of rooms in these hotels and motels have already been booked.

Alhaj Omar Sultan, president of the Association of Guest House Owners of Cox’s Bazar Hotel Motel, said there are more than 450 hotels, motels and guesthouses in the town of Cox’s Bazar. Due to the lockdown and the coronavirus outbreak, everyone’s businesses were on the verge of closing. After the sea beach reopened, tourists began to enter.

“Now hotel owners are trying to turn around again. We are offering various facilities for tourists to recover losses caused by the pandemic,” he added.

Abul Kashem Sikder, general secretary of the Association of Hotel Guest House Owners, said although tourism businesses suffered huge losses during the pandemic, the beach is now open and tourist arrivals are increasing. during the winter season. “Everyone is trying to overcome the losses.”

The hoteliers have already started to prepare for the celebration of the 31st Night. Advance booking has also been done at many hotels. Above all, tourist activity is booming, he said.

Alhaj Lion Abdul Karim, vice chairman of the Hotel Owners Association and chairman of Ocean Paradise Limited, said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I have not been able to repay the loan on time. Now , I’m trying to make up for the loss. If the tourist arrivals continue, we can get it back very quickly. “

Abdul Chowdhury, general secretary of the Hotel Owners Association, said several groups are now making reservations for the 31st night at large hotels. “We will be able to make a profit if the upward trend in tourist arrivals continues.”

Kasem Ali, vice president of the Restaurant Owners Association, said there were more than 300 small and large outlets in and around Cox’s Bazar. He said food has become more expensive due to the sharp increase in the prices of basic commodities.

SM Kibria, founding president of the Tour Operators Association, said the navigation started from Teknaf to the island of Saint Martin. “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all tour operators were unemployed. Travel has started in tourist sites, in particular the island of Saint-Martin. More infrastructure must be guaranteed to reach tourist sites. . “

Kalim Ullah, general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar Hotel Motel Guest House Officers Association, said many officers have lost their jobs. Now everything is back to normal.

Abu Morshed Chowdhury Khoka, chairman of the Cox’s Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said traders suffered greatly during the corona pandemic. “Traders involved in the tourism industry have remained powerless. Although traders have not benefited from government incentives for various reasons, they are now able to recoup their losses to some extent.”

However, more facilities need to be provided to tourists at Cox’s Bazar. There is no park for children who come with their parents. A number of events, including a separate children’s park, are to be set up to keep tourists entertained.

Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Excise and VAT, Cox’s Bazar, Mohammad Chaidul Alam, said the government was helping traders recover losses caused by the pandemic.

The collection of VAT from AC hotels has increased. VAT for non-AC hotels has been reduced from 7.5% to 5%. During the current financial year, the revenue collection target has been set at Tk 4.06 billion.

Of this amount, Tk 775 million have already been collected until October. In addition, 3 billion Tk were collected last year. He said that one billion Tk is collected each year in the form of income from the tourism sector alone.

Cox’s Bazar Area Tourist Police Superintendent Zillur Rahman said police officers are on duty at all tourist sites, including Cox’s Bazar Beach, to ensure the safety of incoming tourists.

Besides security, services are provided to tourists. At the same time, the police are working to educate tourists about health regulations.

Cox’s Bazar deputy commissioner Mamunur Rashid said infrastructure development work was underway at several tourist sites. “Various facilities are created for the convenience of tourists. Everything is monitored from a separate tourist cell to provide facilities for tourists visiting Cox’s Bazar. “

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