CELEBRATING EID HOLIDAYS: Cox’s Bazar ready to receive huge number of tourists

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UNB, Cox’s Bazar :

Cox’s Bazar, the world’s longest natural sea beach which witnesses a slump of tourists during the past three months of the current season, is now gearing up to welcome huge tourists during the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
Hotel businessmen, tour operators incurred losses in the past three months due to poor inflow of tourists amid tension along Bangladesh-Myanmar border, national election and frequent natural calamities but now they are expecting to make a turnaround centering Eid and Bangla New Year holidays.
The government imposed restrictions on traveling to St Martin Island for an indefinite period from February 10 due to security concerns amid conflict in Myanmar close to the Bangladesh border, forcing many tourists to leave Cox’s Bazar without visiting the popular island.
In the month of Ramadan, the Cox’s Bazar has worn a deserted look due to poor inflow of tourists. The traders and businessmen related to the tourism sector are expecting a huge crowd of tourists as people will enjoy an eight-day holiday during Eid-ul-Fitr and Pahela Baishakh, that falls a day after the Eid holidays.
Renovation works are going on in many different business establishments including hotels while many are installing fire extinguishing systems. Businessmen expect that the tourist influx will continue for a month after Eid. Already, the authorities concerned have decorated some spots to attract tourists.
During a recent visit to Sugandha beach, which remains full of tourists from dawn to dusk, the correspondent found it completely empty. A few travelers were seen passing idle time there.
The scenario of Sea Gull, Laboni and Kolatoli beaches is also the same.
Though the hotel-motel owners offered 60 per cent discount on room rent to attract tourists, they didn’t get a response in the month of Ramadan. Ninety Five percent of hotels, motels and resorts in the tourist hub remained vacant and owners were forced to keep their restaurants closed.
Meanwhile, officials and employees of different business establishments were given a month’s leave due to lack of tourists. Photographers, hawkers and small traders were seen passing an idle time while many shops were found shut in the daytime.
Belal Hossain, an employee of Information Services and Complaint Center of the local administration, said a few tourists are coming and most of them are local people. Four hundred restaurants remained closed from the 1st day of Ramadan.
Abu Taleb, general manager (reservation) of Hotel Cox’s Today, said there are 170 rooms in the hotel. The hotel authorities have offered 50% discount but there are hardly any tourists. They are also conducting renovation work at the hotel with hope of tourist influx during Eid vacation.
The situation is the same in other hotels including Ocean Paradise, Sayemen Resort, Seagull, Long Beach, Sea Palace, Hotel Kallol, Royal Resort and others.
Morshed, director of Daria Tour Operator, said many tourists have booked rooms in hotels and motels ahead of Eid. Abul Kashem, president of Cox’s Bazar Hotel, Resort, Guest House Owners Association, said many restaurant authorities are conducting renovation work while a large number of employees and staff were sent on leave in advance after paying salary and bonus to get their services during Eid.
“After the end of Ramadan, there will be a huge crowd of tourists during the Eid-ul-Fitr and Pahela Baishakh holidays for 7 to 8 days. Tourism-based businesses will see a boom,” he said. Appeal Mahmud, additional deputy inspector general of Tourist police, said police have taken different steps to ensure security of the tourists.
Shaheen Imran, deputy commissioner, said alongside the law enforcement agencies, a number of mobile courts led by executive magistrate will remain in the field to provide services and ensure interrupted tourism. There will be special surveillance in the tourist areas to ensure safety of tourists, he said.