Around 400,000 tourists expected in Cox’s Bazar during Eid holiday

Tourists enjoy in Cox's Bazar sea beach as sun sets
Prothom Alo

As holy Eid-ul-Fitr knocks on the door, tourism stakeholders in Cox’s Bazar make last minute preparations to welcome a large number of visitors during the holiday. Cox’s Bazar hoteliers expect at least 400,000 tourists to throng the world’s longest unbroken sea beach during Eid Holiday.  Around 450,000 tourists visited the beach city last year during Eid holiday as the tourism sector generated Tk 10 billion in revenue.

Cox’s Bazar has 500 over hotels, motels, guesthouses, cottages and resorts for tourists. Cox’s Bazar Hotel Guest House Owners Association’s president Abul Kashem Sikder said these hotels can accommodate a total of 128,000 tourists a day.

He said 80 per cent of the rooms of the hotels and guest houses have been booked as of  11:00am today and the remaining rooms are likely to be booked within today or tomorrow afternoon.  

Abul Kashem Sikder said all restaurants were shut during the holy month of Ramadan and the hotels were deserted. Now over five hundred hotels, guest houses, resorts and over seven hundred restaurants are ready to welcome the guests.

He said most of the hotels and restaurants were renovated during the month of Ramadan but fare has not been raised.

Cox’s Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president Abu Morshed Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that over 400,000 tourists might visit Cox’s Bazar between 12 and 16 April. Over this period, the hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related sectors in Cox's Bazar are likely to generate Tk 6-7 billion in revenue. The sector drew revenue of Tk 8 billion last year.

Hotel-restaurants prepared to welcome tourists

Hotel owners said Cox's Bazar might get overcrowded with tourists during this Eid holiday as Bandarban, another popular tourist destination, has become unsafe due to recent incidents of bank robberies and kidnapping. Those who planned to travel to Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachhari during the Eid holidays will now prefer Cox's Bazar. Moreover, railway communication from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar has ensured safe travel for tourists.

Cox’s Bazar Hotel Guest House Owners Association’s general secretary Selim Newaz told Prothom Alo that the tourists would not get any special offers or discounts during this Eid holiday. The visitors were given the highest 60 per cent discount during Ramadan.

He said the association is strictly monitoring whether any hotel charges extra fare during the holiday.

This afternoon it was found that 80 per cent of the rooms have been booked in advance in over 50 hotels, resorts and guesthouses in the hotel-motel zone. At least 60 hotels, guesthouses, resorts and cottages in Kolatoli, including the five-star Hotel Seagull, Ocean Paradise, Sayeman Beach Resort, Hotel Cox Today, Hotel Kallol, Mermaid Beach Resort, have been booked for three days from 13 April.

Hotel Sea Gull’s chief executive officer Sheikh Imrul Islam Siddique said most of the rooms were empty in Ramadan. Now the hotels would teem with tourists from the second day of Eid. The hotel has a total of 179 rooms.

Cox Today hotel’s chief executive officer Abu Taleb said a total of 100,000 would come to Cox’s Bazar every day from the third day of Eid. The visitors would return after spending Pahela Boishakh in Cox’s Bazar.

Kolatoli, Sugondha, Sea Gull and Laboni beach points were found almost deserted today. The makeshift shops and restaurants were shut.

‘SeaSafe Life Guard’ is an organisation that provides lifeguard services for the tourists. This organisation’s superviser Sifat Saifullah told Prothom Alo that several thousand tourists visited Cox’s Bazar in Ramadan.

The number of tourists would start to peak on the second day after the Eid, he added.

Cox’s Bazar Restaurant Owner Association’s general secretary Rashedul Islam Dalim said almost seven hundred restaurants have started to reopen to serve a huge number of tourists.

He said the association will take immediate action if any restaurant charges extra money from tourists.  

Deputy commissioner Mohammad Shahin Imran said several steps have been taken to ensure the overall safety and security of the tourists. A number of mobile courts led by magistrates have been deployed to monitor whether hotels or restaurants charge extra money. Multiple complaint and service centers have been opened in the beach area to report complaints. Strict action will be taken if any complaints of tourist harassment are proven.