The tourism sector has incurred a loss of Tk20,000 crore in this peak season, due to the non-stop transport blockade across the country, tour operators claimed yesterday.
“Winter is the peak season for the tourism industry, but it has been seriously affected by the political unrest,” Akbar Uddin Ahmed, president of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), said at a press conference at the National Press Club.
The industry counted piles of losses and has been sinking in rising bank interest rate, as many invested, taking loan from banks, in this season, he said. “Why will we pay the cost for politics?”
Usually, October-February of every year is the peak season for brisk business of hotels, and the occupancy rate generally remains at more than 90%. But this time, the number has declined to below 40%, according to tour operators.
Many foreign tourists have cancelled their tours to Bangladesh due to the ongoing, indefinite countrywide blockade programme, they said.
To save the industry, TOAB put forward demands, including keeping vehicles carrying tourists out of the purview of all political programmes, ensuring adequate security for foreign tourists, and providing financial compensation to tour operators and hotel owners affected by the hartal and blockade.
According to the Bangladesh Tourism Board, more than 80 sectors are directly and indirectly involved in the nation’s tourism industry.
About 1.2 million people, which is 1.8% of the total employment in the country, are directly and 2.7 million are indirectly involved in this sector.
Source: Dhaka Tribune