- Omicron hits tourism again
- Hotel-motel booking being cancelled
Golam Mostafa Jibon: The current rising trend of Coronavirusespecially Omicron has started to hit the tourism business again. As a result, the effort to turn around of the sector is going in vain.
With the emergence of Corona’s new variant Omicron, the number of tourists has started to decrease at different tourist spots in the country causing frustration among the hotels-motels and tourism traders. Many have also started cancelling the booking of hotels and motels to avert Corona infection, sources said.
According to sources, room booking at hotels, motels and guest houses has started decrease compared to the usual. Many are canceling the booking due to fresh restrictions imposed by the government with a view to prevent massive spread of virus. Nowadays, there are no crowds at the spots including sea beaches, restaurants and shops selling various tourism related products.
Panic has been spread among the people and panic-stricken people at home and abroad are now showing disinterest to visit tourist spots in fear of further lockdown.
They fear that the government can announce lockdown at any moment.
As a result, many tourist spots have remained almost vacant during the peak tourist season.
There are always at least 50 percent room bookings in addition to the usual weekly holidays. But, room bookings are now down to 20 percent due to the freshsurge of Omicron variant.
On the other hand, 70 to 80 percent of rooms are booked on weekends. That too has come down to 40 percent that creates a new fear in the tourism business.
While contacted over cell phone, Abu, owner of Hotel Cox’s in Cox’s Bazar told The Daily Industry that, “The number of tourists has started decreasing due to the restrictions of Corona. There were several room bookings on the occasion of the weekly holiday on Friday and Saturday last. But, most of the room bookings have been cancelled on the pretext of restrictions and panic of infection. If the situation continues, the business will collapse again and concerned businesses may incur losses of Tk 200 crore.”
Nur Mohammad Siddiqui, Cox’s Bazar office in-charge of St. Martin’s Ship Carry Tours and Limited said,”Three big groups had canceled their bookings in the last few days. A group of 95 people from the administration has canceled their bookings due to imposing of fresh restrictions. Every day the seats on the ship are getting empty now.”
“General people are apprehending that the government can impose new lockdown again in a bid to curb pandemic.This is why, many people do not dare to visit tourist spots,” he added.
Rustom Ali, who went to Cox’s Baza’ar from Uttara in the capital said, “I went to Cox’s Baza’ar along with my family after a long timewith the hope to spend some time amid joy. But, I was forced to return soon after hearing about the fresh restrictions over Omicron surge. It made me frustrated.”
Surat Ali, owner of Barak Hotel and Restaurant in Kuakata said, “We produce many delicious food items in our hotel every day for the tourists. But, many food items are being wasted due to the decrease in the number of food-loving tourists. Many tourists returned to their homes before their scheduled time.”
Abul Kashem Sikder, general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar Hotel-Motel Owners’ Association said that, “The number of tourists has decreased not only because of Corona, but also due to various reasons. The tour of educational institutions has remained closure for long centering the pandemic. Most of the people, who come here, come on family tours.Especially those, who fought against death in the past due to Corona infection, do not want to take risk further.”
Meanwhile, mobile courts are being conducted in different tourist spots including hotels and motels every day to enforce the hygiene rules. If there is any inconsistency in any matter, fines are also being levied. Tourists in particular are being discouraged from walking around the beach and other spots without masks.
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