A partial view of Cox’s Bazar beach. — New Age Photo
The long holidays during Eid-ul-Fitr this year are expected to be a boon for Bangladesh’s struggling tourism sector, which has yet to recover from the fallout from Covid-19.
Domestic travel demand is significantly higher this year compared to the recent past when travel enthusiasts were mostly confined to homes.
Hoteliers at popular tourist sites said they were inundated with booking requests this year ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, which is due to be celebrated on May 3.
Travelers will likely enjoy nine days of Eid holidays between April 29 and May 7 if the government declares May 5, Thursday, a public holiday.
April 29 and 30 are official weekends while May 1 is a public holiday on the occasion of International Workers’ Day.
The government has announced a three-day Eid public holiday from May 2-4 while May 6-7 are weekends.
Thousands are expected to visit tourist destinations as travelers began buying bus and plane tickets and booking rooms at hotels and resorts well in advance.
There are many tourist spots in Bangladesh, but Cox’s Bazar and Kauakata are the most popular tourist destinations for beach lovers.
“We expect huge pressure from guests during the long Eid holiday. We are fully ready to welcome guests,” Abul Kashem Sikder, chairman of the owners association of Cox’s Bazar Hotel, Motel, Guesthouse told New Age.
Kashem expected to recoup some of the losses suffered by the sector during the phased Covid restrictions from March 25, 2020 to February 22, 2022.
He said some 400 hotels, including 20 3-star equivalents, in Cox’s Bazar are ready to welcome guests during the Eid holiday.
Nature lovers can also visit various other attractive tourist destinations in three hilly districts – Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban – and Jaflong on the banks of Piain, Bholaganj Zero Point or Bichanakandi, tea gardens, hoars and other areas of major districts of Silhet.
Apart from these natural tourist spots, vacationers can choose to visit different resorts in and around Dhaka city.
Resorts around Dhaka city and remote areas like Padma Resort in Louhajong, Dhaka Resort in Gazipur, Elenga Resort, Rangamati Resort, Dreamland Resort, Mohammadi Garden, Greentech Resort, Bawal Resort, Chuti Resort and Arunima Resort Golf Club in Narail , etc. .look forward to welcoming guests.
The President of the Bangladesh Tour Operators Association, M Rafeuzzaman, told New Age that travelers usually choose to visit tourist spots with family members and friends on every vacation.
Vacationers will travel on this Eid holiday more than in recent years as they could not travel despite national and international travel restrictions, he said.
Some people choose to travel to India, Nepal, Thailand and Dubai this year to celebrate the Eid holiday.
“But I will suggest people to visit the natural beauty of Bangladesh where a visitor can simultaneously enjoy the sea, mangrove forest, hills, waterfalls and haors,” Rafeuzzaman said, adding, “Apart from Bangladesh , nowhere in the world can a visitor enjoy so many natural resources”. tasks.’
He said tour operators offered different types of packages for stay-at-home travellers.
Bangladesh Tourism Industries Association chairman Khabir Uddin Ahmed said they are looking forward to welcoming customers who have not shown up for the past two years.
“More revenue could be added to the national coffer if we encourage tourists to visit our national tourist sites,” said Khabir, also chairman of Arunima Resort Golf Club.
US-Bangla Airlines general manager of public relations Kamrul Islam told New Age that tickets for six flights to Cox’s Bazar ahead of Eid had been sold out well in advance.
Kuakata’s Parjatan Hotel and Youth Inn receptionist Al Amin told New Age that most travelers ask to book their 73 rooms for several days starting on the day of Eid.
Kuakata area tourist police coordinator Abul Kalam Azad said he would hold meetings with hotel and motel owners and other stakeholders on how to handle the influx of tourists during Eid holidays.
Cox’s Bazar Tourist Area Police Operations Officer Inspector Pintu Roy said the Cox’s Bazar Tourist Police are ready to ensure the safety of travellers.
The hospitality and tourism sector lost Tk 6,000 crore and up to 1.40 lakh workers also lost their jobs due to the Covid pandemic, according to a study by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies .