Blockade to cost Tk 1b in tourism sector16 January 2015 bdnews24.com
Tour operators in Bangladesh fear the BNP-sponsored blockade will cost the tourism industry up to Tk 1 billion in losses in the current season.
They have urged politicians to not call programmes that hurt the industry.
"We have our backs against the wall now. Keep tourism away from nasty politics," Tourist Guide Association member Syed Mahbubul Islam Bulu said in a press conference at the Bangladesh Tourism Board on Thursday.
There are no definitive figure on the losses, but tourism operators put it between Tk 0.8 billion and Tk 1 billion.
Speakers at the press conference, organised by the Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), said the tourism season started in September and ended in March.
"Already 50 percent of the reservations have been cancelled due to the political violence. We fear it will go up to 75 percent by March," TOAB Director Toufique Rahman said.
The blockade will not only lead to losses in the current season but would have a long-term impact on the country's tourism industry, he said.
Tour Planners Limited Managing Director Faridul Haque demanded that vehicles transporting tourists be kept out of the blockade purview.
Bangladesh Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer Akhtaruzzaman Kabir said he agreed with the tour operators' demand.
Apparel exporters urged BNP chief Khaleda Zia last Monday to call off the agitation, citing losses of about Tk 4.5 billion in the past 12 days.