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Monday, November 13, 2017 10:46:07 PM
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Cox`s Bazar tourism sector faces serious setback

By Special Correspondent
14th-Nov-2017       
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The Rogingya refugee crisis has dealt a serious blow to Cox's Bazar's tourism sector, which was growing sharply in the recent years.
Tourist operators on Sunday reported lower turn out of the tourists though it was the peak season of tourism.
"Hotel reservations are at their lowest level as the Rohingya crisis gripped the country," Sarwar Alam, Manager of Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort, told The New Nation yesterday.
He said the spread of Rohingya refugees throughout the costal town threatened tourism, as tourists are reluctant to come fearing unforeseen problems.
"Many entrepreneurs set up high-class hotels offering state-of-the-art facilities to attract both foreign and local tourists but they are now counting losses because of the dwindling number of tourists," added Alam.   
Cox's Bazar is the most sought after tourist destinations in Bangladesh having the world's longest unbroken 120 km beach slopping gently down to the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal against the picturesque background of a chain of hills covered with deep green forests.
"We're struggling to attract tourists in our weekend tour packages. Almost all of the trips planned for November have been canceled due to the Rohingya crisis," John Kamol, Managing Director of Dhaka Holidays, a Dhaka-based tourist operator, told The New Nation yesterday.
"Our booking is running about 40 per cent below the previous year. We need business. But our business faced serious set back due to the refugee crisis," a manager of Hotel Coral Reef, told The New Nation.
He said tourists are not coming. Only aid workers and few journalists are coming for covering news of the refugees.  
Nearly 400 hotel, motel and guesthouse are situated in Cox's Bazar district having accommodation facility of 70,000 tourists.
The district is now hosting over one million Rohingya refugees most of whom arrived in since August 25 to escape brutal violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.     
James Babu Hazra, secretary general of Bangladesh Hotel and Guest House Owners Association, however, said holidaymakers should be reassured that the army is now monitoring the Rohingya issue. "The tourists won't face any security problem and will be able to move freely. But the businesses in Teknaf and Saint Martin's Island will however suffer if proper measures are not taken," he said. Md Nasir Uddin, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board, said the local tourism sector will not face any problem if the government manages to give shelter to the Rohingyas properly.

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