Corona inflicts a loss of Taka 352 crore in tourism sector in greater Barishal

Jahir Rayhan, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Barishal
photo: collected

photo: collected

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As a result of the global pandemic Coronavirus (Covid-19), business establishments including residential hotels and motels in various tourist centers and places of interest including Barishal and the entire southern region of Kuakata have suffered extreme losses.

Businessmen involved in the tourism industry have claimed that about Taka 351.64 crore was lost in these establishments (in the tourism sector) during the shutdown under the government's directive to stop the spread of corona. After being closed for a few months, these tourist areas are normal again as per the instructions of the administration, but due to the corona, the number of domestic and foreign tourists has decreased.

Sources at various tourist centers said:

Kuakata: Kuakata is one of the most scenic beaches in Bangladesh and the largest tourist destination in the southern region. The Patuakhali district administration has announced closure of 13 tourist spots and more than 150 small and medium-sized hotels, motels, water buses, tourist boats and other activities in Kuakata Sea-Beach area from March 16 to June 30 this year.

Extreme losses have been incurred by small and medium and large local traders in 32 sectors including hotels, residential and motel traders, tourism related Burmese market, sea-beach oyster market, Rakhine women's market, dry goods shop, restaurant, museum, hilsapark.

According to the Kuakata Hotel-Motel Owners Association, there are more than 150 hotels and motels, including 80 listed by the association. M Motaleb Sharif, general secretary of the Kuakata Hotel-Motel Owners Association, told Barta24.com that the hotels and motels lost about Taka 200 crore during the shutdown.

Hossain Amir, senior vice-president of the Kuakata Tourism Management Association (Kutum), told Barta24.com that the transport sector, including small and medium enterprises in about 32 sectors related to the tourism industry, has lost another Taka 150 crore.

Bhimruli Floating Guava Hat in Jhalokati: The largest floating guava market in Asia is located at the mouth of the local Bhimruli canal in Jhalokati district of Bangladesh. Crowds of domestic and foreign tourists and travelers flock here to see the floating guava market. But this year, the number of tourists from far and wide has dropped several times due to the corona situation. As a result, the rent of more than 300 boats and more than 150 engine-driven trawlers and the sale of all kinds of business establishments, including the well-known Baudi floating hotel, has come down to 3 per cent from 10 per cent last year. Local farmer Naveen Chandra Haldar, a fellow vendor of a floating hotel in Baudi and Suken, a trawler trader, said that this is less than Taka 40/45 lakh so far as compared to last year.

Red Lotus Flower Canal of Barishal: Red Lotus grows in about 10,000 acres of wetlands of this village named North Satla in Uzirpur of Barishal district. Tourists from home and abroad, including the entire southern region, can be seen in this water body. But because of the corona, the number of thirsty people traveling on the Red Lotus Flower is less than last year. Local traders are also claiming that the average monthly turnover of local traders is less than Taka 14/15 lakh including the rent of more than two and a half hundred small and big boats claimed local businessman Kalimullah.

Planet Children's Park: This children's park in Barishal city has been closed for three months from March 20 to July 19 in corona situation, causing a loss of Taka 13/14 lakh in all sectors including entrance fee, according to the park authorities.

Durgasagar: The traditional tourist center of Barishal district Durgasagar Dighi was closed from March 16 to August 6. Barisal Deputy Commissioner SM Aziar Rahman told Barta24.com that entry fees worth around Taka 7-8 lakh were not sold at Durgasagar during the five-month shutdown. Several traders also said that a loss of Taka 8 to 10 lakh was incurred due to the collapse of trade and commerce in the area.

There are also Baitul Aman (Guthia) Mosque in Barisal, Muktijoddha Park, Trish Godown, Swadhinata Park, Arj Ali Matabbar, Barisal University, Pirojpur DC Park, Jhalokati Eco-park, various bridges and tourist attractions.

Besides, Patuakhali's Paira River Port (reserved), Barguna's Sonakata Eco-park, Haringhata Park, Shuva Sandhya, Bhola's Jacob Tower, Sheikh Russell Shishu and Bangabandhu Park, Barishal's Chakhar Sher-e-Bangla Museum and other tourist areas in the south have lost crores of rupees.

Arifur Rahman, director of Jal Tarani Tabughar and a young entrepreneur told Barta24.com that corona not the only hit the big business in the tourism industry. At the same time, the relentless work to further develop the tourism industry has also put young and enterprising entrepreneurs on the path. In this situation, the entrepreneur also thinks that it is not possible to keep this tourism industry alive without the stimulus allocation of the government.