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Friday, May 20, 2022
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Bangladeshi tourism industry collapses during COVID 19

The outbreak of pandemic disease led to rapid shutdowns in cities across the country, which greatly affected the hospitality industry.

 

On 30 January 2020 the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”. The first official case of COVID-19 in Bangladesh was reported on 8 March 2020

 

From the beginning of March to mid-May, the Bangladesh Government’s imposed measures seem to have been effective in containing the spread of the virus. During the first wave of the pandemic, global air travel nearly froze.  Apart from the economic impact, COVID-19 increased the public’s awareness on hygiene. In the end, lifting the first lockdown seems to have given a much needed breath of air to a struggling tourism industry

 

The closing of borders, airports, and hotels as well as restrictions on mass gatherings, land travel and related services across the world put around 100 to 120 million jobs at ris

 

The second wave is more severe than the first one. During the first wave of COVID-19, the spread of the virus was limited due to the public’s generally disciplined approach toward the containment measures imposed by the Government, which mainly focused on restricting unnecessary movement and practicing social distancin

 

Travel restrictions were relaxed from August 2020 in many countries and there are glimmers of hope for tourism businesses seen agai

 

“Total loss in tourism sector is approximately five to six thousand crore. While asking if he would take back those who are laid off due to pandemic, “When business will be normal we will take them back.” We request government for low interest loan to reschedule the bank loan to increase installment,” says H M Hakim Ali, president of the Bangladesh Tourism Association(BIHA

 

“Tourism sector is one of the most important all over the world. The first one is oil, the second largest is tourism sector. But we don’t get any importance. Hotels and resorts have been closed for almost a year and a half. There are 12 lakh employees working in this sector and everyone is suffering. We desperately need government help in a bid to survive as the situation is lasting longer than expected, says President of Bangladesh Hotels Association (BIHA)

 

The Bangladesh Hotels Association recently submitted a five point budget proposal to the government, which has not yet seen the light of day.  Among them 15% VAT in the sales price should be reduced to 7 percent or single digit, create special fund and financial assistance amounting to 50,000 crore for hotel industry to overcome the pre and post coronavirus crisis. The association also asked the government to suspend corporate tax, salary income tax, supplementary duty and other tax for the hospitality industry from the budget 2021-22 period.

 

Despite having tourists all year, the winter season represents the peak season tourism income for Bangladesh. The hotels are already set to spend Eid holidays closed down. So, it’s a big question mark whether the local tourists will have the time or the same amount of money as of previous years to spend on vacations. Because travel will be a hardship for people who already suffered from the economic consequences of the pandemic

 

“Restrictions in travel continue to have an impact for travelers. As of now, there are few countries with entirely open borders. Many restrict travelers from abroad, while others impose a mandatory quarantine. Still others require proof of a negative, COVID-19 PCR test. We are hopeful that vaccination can spur tourism again” said Md. Rafeuzzaman, President of TOAB

 

“There are about 40-45 lakh workers in hospitality industry. The tourism industry is much neglected in our country. The Renaissance Hotel has laid off 100 to 150 people during pandemic. About 50% of the staff has been laid off from almost every hotel. There were no foreign guests in the hotels at the time of the pandemic, but there were local guests.” says Shahidul Islam Shohid, Bangladesh Hotel and Resort Employees Association (BHE

 

“Almost everyone has been working in our hotels for many years. But authority fired them without notice. Now they have opened a grocery store, some are unemployed and sitting at home. We are organized, we have made human chains in the press club,” adds Shahidul Islam Shohid

 

Thousands of tourists usually gather on beaches of Cox’s Bazar. But they have vanished. Every country is thinking about taking care of the local market

 

“We will have to start from zero, because something like that has never happened. Even the previous year will count as zero because the whole situation has changed. But nobody is thinking about revenue right now. The focus is when we are going to reopen,” said Mohd Riaz Uddin Tareq, member of Cox’s Bazar Chamber Of Commerce and Industry and Tour Operator Owners Association Of Cox’s Bazar (TOAC) state

 

“We should promote and expand opportunities in local tourism in Bangladesh.” He states that in response to the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Safety is on the minds of all travelers, who may get a sense of relief from the enhanced cleaning efforts at their hotel. The “Safe tourism” guarantees hygiene protocols and a low risk of infection. That includes more frequent cleanings of common areas, use of high tech disinfection and physical barriers, which can give guests peace of mind during the pandemic

 

The pandemic was a shock to the entire system at first. But the world is adapting now. People need to go out. As soon as the lockdown finished, tourists wasted no time in returning. In the mean time, we need to wear our face covering, practice good hygiene and give people space .

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