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Political unrest hinders tourism business in Bandarban

Sanjoy Kumar Barua

BANDARBAN: The picturesque tourist spots of the district, which usually remain crowded with a large number of tourists from home and abroad during this peak season of the year, now sees without any visitors due to the countrywide ongoing hartal and blockade.

Boga Lake, Nilgiri, Meghla, Nilachol, Shailo Propath, Golden Temple and other tourist spots of the district wore a deserted look in the last few weeks.

Many hotels, motels and cottage owners said that, tourists cancelled their bookings due to political unrest across the country.

“The tourism industry in Bandarban is going through tough times due to political unrest and frequent hartals and blockade from the beginning of January”, said Humayun Ahmed, managing director of the Parjatan motel and also president of residential hotel owners association in the district.

“Our motel and all the cottages were fully booked. But tourists cancelled their all bookings due to political unrest in the country”, he added.

Sultan Nafis Mahmud, general manager of Hotel Hill View, said, “Targeting this year’s peak season, we made considerable investment but are now on the verge of incurring a huge loss”.

MA Shahariar, owner of Palki cottage, said, “We are facing a tough time in this peak season and it will be impossible for us to run tourism business if the situation of the country not improved.” 

Md. Rabiul Hasan, Nejarat Deputy Collector (NDC) also an official of Nilachal tourist spot said, “We could not manage to sell more than 100-125 tickets a day throughout the running month to the visitors whereas earlier we sold around 3000-3500 daily in the peak session”.

“I could manage to sell textile items worth Tk. 500-800 daily at our shop whereas it was around Tk 8000-10000 a day last year,” said Mya Hla Prue Marma, a salesperson at a local clothes shop in the district.

Tourism involved businessmen of the district consider the period from November to March as the peak season and April to October as the off-peak season.

“We made huge investment ahead of the peak season, but tourists’ turnout has been on the decline since January 05 due to continuous hartal and road blockades”, said Sirajul Islam, general secretary of the District Hotel Owners Association.

“Most of the hotels and motels in the district remained almost vacant this peak month”, he added.

Contacted, Mizanul Haque Chowdhury, Deputy Commissioner of the district said, “Every year in this peak season government earn a huge amount of revenue from the tourism sector of the district but now think of industrial safety due to the unrest.”