People more interested to travel within the country

Tourists cross the jetty on St Martin’s Island on 26 February 2023. Nearly 5,000 tourists arrive in St Martin’s Island daily by ships from Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram during tourism season.Jewel Shil

Iftekhar Ferdous of Uttara in the capital and three of his friends will go to Sreemangal on Eid vacation. Some of them are work in offices and some have businesses. They have taken leave from work for two more days after the Eid holidays. Iftekhar and his friends have already booked rooms at an eco-resort in Sreemangal. Now they await the Eid vacation.

Hasina Nasrin is a banker by profession. She and four of her colleagues are going to Sikkim in India on the Eid holidays. They too have taken extra leave for the trip. However, they will have to be a bit careful with their spending during the tour due to the rise in the price of dollars.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Hasina Nasrin said, “I wanted to go a day after Eid day. However, that’s not possible due to social obligations. So we are going a week after Eid to avoid crowds and additional expenses. The temperature of Sikkim remains tolerable at this time of the year. We will have fun there.”

More interest in the country

The tourism business in the country is booming ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. Many are making plans to travel with friends and family on Eid holidays. Many have extended their leave. The tourists have already started making hotel reservations and booking tickets. The hotels in the popular tourist spots also have come up with exciting offers on this occasion.  

Usually, the tourism business booms during the Eid holidays, both at home and abroad. However, the tendency of going abroad for Eid has declined this year due to the rise in the price of dollars and air ticket prices.

According to the Tourist Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), around 500,000 people will visit different popular tourist spots this year during the Eid holidays. Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Sylhet, Sreemangal, Saint Martin Island, Kuakata and the Sundarbans are at the top of the list of tourist destinations this year.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, TOAB former president, Md Rafeuzzaman said, “Although the trend of going abroad on Eid holidays has declined this year, the pressure of tourists at different tourist spots in the country is quite high.

The tourists will start visiting Cox’s Bazar from the second day of Eid. All the hotels and motels will be packed with tourists on that day.

The tour operators are expecting around 500,000 tourists during the Eid holidays. However, the tourism in the country is yet to reach the level as it was in the time before the pandemic, they said.

Cox’s Bazar getting prepared

Cox’s Bazar, the largest tourist spot in the country, is getting prepared to serve the tourists on Eid holidays. This place is a very popular destination for tourists during any holiday. The tourists can enjoy the beauty of hills, the beach of red crabs and the marine drive in addition to the endlessness of the sea at Cox’s Bazar. The foodies can enjoy different types of seafood as well.

According to tourism-related statistics, there are more than 500 hotels, motels and resorts in Cox’s Bazar. These hotels and motels have the capacity to host more than 200,000 tourists at once. Now, most of the hotels are closed during Ramadan. Renovations are ongoing in many hotels ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Selim Nawaz, general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar Hotel-Motel, Guest House Owners Association said, “The guests will start coming to Cox’s Bazar a day after the Eid. We are expecting around one million guests on the second day of Eid celebrations. Different hotels are coming up with offers of 20 to 40 per cent off on the rents for the rooms on the occasion of Eid. However, the reservation of rooms has not started in full scale yet. It will increase in the last week before the Eid.”

Special offers to attract tourists

The hotels and motels in the tourist spots have exciting offers ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr. From small hotels to five-star hotels, almost all the hotels have some lucrative offers. The middle class people wait for these special offers from the hotels and resorts. They won’t be disappointed this year.

The five-star Grand Sultan Resort in Srimangal has an offer of Tk 23,000 on the occasion of Eid, including three meals a day for two people and two kids in a deluxe room. On the other hand, the Dusai resort in Sreemangal has an offer of Tk 19,900 for visitors from 22 to 25 April. It includes a deluxe room for two people and three meals a day.

The resorts with low cost also have come up with different offers. For instance, one can stay for a night at the Shantibari Eco Resort at a cost of Tk 1,900 only, which is Tk 2,390 for a duplex cottage. The offer includes meals thrice a day.

Resort manager Md Lincoln told Prothom Alo that almost all the rooms in the hotel have been booked already. He expected all the rooms to be booked in advance by next week.

The businessmen in this sector are expecting that the tourism in Sylhet, Moulvibazar and Habiganj will revive after the Eid holidays this year.

Impact of high price of dollars and air tickets

People’s interest in travelling abroad on Eid holidays has declined due to the high price of dollars and air tickets. Usually people purchase dollars from the open market before travelling abroad. However, the price of dollars has increased to Tk 110 in the open market. In addition to that is the additional cost for the air tickets this year. Therefore, the number of people going abroad on Eid holidays this year is low.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Ishtiaque Ahmed, “We expect to sell about 70 per cent of the tickets we used to sell to tourists during the Eid season before the pandemic. Mainly, people’s interest in travelling abroad is less this year due to the rise in the price of dollars and air tickets.

He further said that the price of air tickets on the Kolkata-Dhaka route has increased from 18,000-20,000 from Tk 14,000. The price of air tickets on Dhaka-Bangkok routes has increased to 50,000 to 60,000 from 33,000-34,000. The ticket price on the Malaysia route has also increased considerably.