There are many attractive tourist spots in Bangladesh to attract foreign tourists. Earlier the number of foreign travellers in Bangladesh was very small due to the turbulent political situation and strikes and blockades. Foreigners were also frightened to visit Bangladesh after the tragic incident of Holey Artisan in 2016. After the situation improved somewhat, the Covid pandemic began in March 2020. The pandemic has severely damaged the tourism industry not only in Bangladesh but all over the world.
In this situation, the government has to take multi-pronged steps to keep the country's tourism industry alive. First, tariffs and service taxes on products used in the tourism industry should be reduced as recommended by the FBCCI. At present, the 37 per cent of tax imposed on income in this sector has to be brought down to a reasonable level. The government wants to increase revenue by imposing more taxes. But reducing taxes will reduce tourism costs resulting in increasing the number of tourists and revenue without raising taxes.
Secondly, the recreational and leisure facilities of foreign tourists should be unobstructed. Although the government has made policy in this regard at different times, in reality not much has been done. If necessary, the tourist area should be separated.
All kinds of facilities have to be provided for the foreign guests staying there, which they also get in other countries. The demand to relax the rules of corona test within 48 hours before departure and simplifying visa processing is necessary to attract foreign tourists.
The number of Covid cases is gradually declining. Corona restrictions need to be relaxed in stages. Amid all the disappointments, we are happy to know that the domestic tourism has boosted. Around 10 million people travel every year.
The service providers also need to be a little more generous. The rate at which hotel rents and meals have been charged from tourists in Cox's Bazar during the last Eid was by no means reasonable. They should not expect to make up the two years' losses in just a week.