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Tourism and hospitality sector of Bangladesh

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Govt plans to revamp facilities in Sundarbans to boost tourism

The government is planning to renovate seven eco-parks and build four new ones in the Sundarbans, aiming to boost tourism in the world's largest mangrove forest.

The government also has plans to procure high-speed vessels to protect tourists in disaster-prone areas.

Even though more and more people visit the world’s largest mangrove forest each year, tourists and travel agencies complain about insufficient facilities and travel arrangements to the Sundarbans.

The complaints range from lack of basic and emergency medical services, food and accommodation, supply of fresh water, adequate security to booking complications at the forest department. The watch towers and jetties inside the forest are also in dilapidated conditions.

“Each season, around 1.5 to 2 lakh local and foreign tourists visit the Sundarbans helping the government earn more than Tk 2 crore in revenue,” said Md Moinuddin Khan, forest conservator of the Khulna region.

“There're seven eco-parks for tourists in the Sundarbans. Under the current circumstances, a Tk 25 crore project titled  ‘Development and extension of eco-friendly tourist facilities in Sundarbans project’ was proposed and it can be implemented from July next year if it gets approved from the ministry,” he said.

According to the forest conservator, development of the old seven eco-parks, construction of four new ones and overall renovation of watchtowers are included in the project.

 “The project was sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, and we hope to get its approval soon,” Moinuddin Khan added.

Sources at Sundarbans East and West Forest Department said the number of local and foreign tourists visiting the Sundarbans is increasing every year.

They said a total of 100,817 tourists visited the Sundarbans in 2014-15 fiscal year, 128,175  in 2015-16, 183,490 in 2016-17 and 221,969 in 2017-18 fiscal year.

That figure rose to 251,969 in 2018-19. The forest department received more than Tk 2 crore in revenue from the tourism sector last year.

Talking to the UNB correspondent, several tourists who went to the Sundarbans shared the problems they encountered. As much of the forest is outside the mobile network, tourists are disconnected with the outside world after they enter the Sundarbans, they said.

There are no facilities for emergency medical care and even for clean drinking water, they complained.

“The Sundarbans is a place of amazing natural beauty and many people are really interested about it. People visit it purely at their own initiatives,” said Jamaluddin who came to visit the Sundarbans from Dhaka.

He feels that tourism in the Sundarbans has a lot of potential but government initiatives  to develop the tourism sector is few and far between.

Jamaluddin also found the Sundarbans to be a safe area although people used to fear attacks from pirates and forest robbers before.

“Security should be increased at the tourist spots like Kotka, Kochikhali and at the river mouths where ships anchor,” Jamaluddin mentioned.

Mazharul Islam Kochi, managing director of Ever Green Tours and Travels Ltd, expressed concerns over the inadequate security at the Sundarbans.

“The security system is still precarious and each ferry gets only two forest guards, who are often too old to carry firearms. That’s why the dangers remain,” he explained.

“Tourists also do not get proper accommodation. They have to spend night on their boats. The watchtowers are also rickety and the tourist ferries are not allowed to use the forest department jetties. There is a crisis of fresh water, too.”

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of West Sundarbans division Bashirul AL Mamun said some initiatives are in the pipeline to make sure tourists can avail themselves of services easily at the Sundarbans.

“We monitor to make sure tourists don’t fall in troubles. Importance is being given to the necessity of designated jetties for tourists. Tour guides are being trained so they can remain alert while accompanying the tourists,” he explained.

“Priority is being given to manpower for monitoring the overall situation of the Sundarbans. Necessary manpower is kept in the eco-park areas even though we're short by one-third."

Mentioning that tourists should be more cautious so that the Sundarbans environment is not spoiled, the DFO said visitors often feed the animals and make loud noises. These activities are harmful to the environment.

“Due to lack of awareness, tourists throw polythene, packets, food and leftovers in the river and the Sundarbans, polluting the environment. This problem is difficult to solve by enforcing the law alone. Therefore, emphasis is given on raising awareness,” the forest official added.

“The ministry can approve projects up to Tk 50 crore without going to Ecnec. Thus the proposal for the forest department’s project will be cleared. There are only a few steps left and the work may begin before July,” said Begum Habibun Nahar, MP, deputy minister for environment, forests and climate change affairs.

“Although the Sundarbans Protection Project began in 2011, virtually nothing happened under it. Some work for protection will be done under the ‘Development and extension of eco-friendly tourist facilities in Sundarbans project’. It has been primarily approved,” the deputy minister said.

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I don't think Bangladesh is ready for tourism due to various reasons but I could be wrong. 

I'd prefer opening up the tourism sector 10 or 15 years from now when the country and infrastructure can support tourism and give tourist and better and more immersive experience of the country.

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Bangladesh takes 5 steps ahead on list of tourist-friendly countries


A list of 140 countries has been published considering the 90 criteria for air transport, accommodation, security, culture and stable travel opportunities for tourists

Bangladesh has gone five notches up on the list of tourist-friendly countries in the world, now being ranked 120th among 140 countries.

The World Economic Forum has recently published a report on tourism titled “Travel and Tourism Competitive Report-2019”, ranking Bangladesh 120th. Bangladesh’s earlier rank was 125th. 

The report lauded Bangladesh's stride towards being a tourist-friendly country. In the regional analysis, Bangladesh has made the most progress in security and safety in Asia-Pacific.

A list of 140 countries has been published considering the 90 criteria for air transport, accommodation, security, culture and stable travel opportunities for tourists in the report.

Covering 140 economies, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index measures the set of factors and  policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.

Spain topped the list, followed by France, Germany, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Canada, Switzerland. 

Among the SAARC countries on the list, India ranked 34, Sri Lanka ranked 77, Nepal 102. Pakistan’s rank is below Bangladesh. The country's rank is 121.

This year, the World Economic Forum gave importance to four aspects of tourism — natural and cultural resources, aviation infrastructure, national travel and tourism policies and appropriate environment (from security to labor market hygiene).

According to the report, Bangladesh has made the significant progress in security and safety.

The hope for Bangladesh is that due to natural resources and cultural heritage, there will be significant improvement in the tourism industry, it says, adding that the number of tourists will also increase.

There are also some challenges for the tourism industry of the country, which is facing poor tourism services, air pollution and water logging. For these reasons, the country's natural tourism is threatened, it says.

Increasing wildlife sanctuaries for sustainable development of Bangladesh tourism, conservation of natural resources and preventing deforestation can accelerate the development of tourism, the report adds. 

Taslim Amin Shovon, director, trade and fair, Tour Operators Associations of Bangladesh (TOAB), said: "It is obviously a good news for us, it will have a positive impact on our tourism sector."

"For the past few years, Bangladesh Tourism Boards has been developing their relationships with different organizations including Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for international promotions and various fairs on tourism issues. It helped to develop our tourism sector a lot," he said.

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12:00 AM, March 15, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:17 AM, March 15, 2020

Coronavirus fears: hotels become ghost towns

Mahmudul Hasan

In the general run of things, a steady stream of chatter buzzes across the lobby of the Pan Pacific Sonargaon, as the upscale hotel in the heart of Dhaka hosts more than five events a day.

The lobby, however, was wearing a deserted look yesterday as there were no events like wedding ceremonies or business conferences taking place at the hotel -- a cascading effect of coronavirus outbreak that has taken over almost all sectors.

"The occupancy rate of our hotel has plunged to below 30 per cent. The outbreak has taken a huge toll on our business," said Md Alamgir, managing director of Hotels International, the owning company of Sonargaon hotel.

In the last six days, Sonargaon, which has about 278 rooms, has not witnessed a single event in its ballroom.

Similar scenarios are prevalent at almost every luxury hotel in Dhaka as the pandemic has led to the cancellation of numerous events and flights as well as travel restrictions.

The global death toll surged past 5,000 yesterday, with the total number of confirmed cases worldwide having crossed 140,000.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia earlier informed that it would suspend all international flights for two weeks in an effort to stem the outbreak while US President Donald Trump on Friday declared the situation a national emergency.

Europe is now being considered the epicentre for COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sonargaon's losses were amplified manifold when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his plans to visit Dhaka and attend the 'Mujib Borsho' celebrations on March 17. Around 100 suites had been booked for two days to host the Indian premier and his entourage.

Bangladesh's hospitality industry was late to realise what kind of impact the novel virus would leave.

"This week alone, occupancy rates dipped to 30-40 per cent," said Md Mohsin Hoq Himel, secretary of the Bangladesh International Hotel Association.

"In Bangladesh, business hotels are the worst hit because of the on-arrival visa cancellations," he said, adding that occupancy rates should have been about 80 per cent to 90 per cent during this time of the year.

Since mass gatherings are discouraged amid the lingering threat, restaurants at luxury hotels in Dhaka have also been dealt a serious blow.

"We had to temporarily stop our regular buffet lunch but anyone can have lunch if they make orders while the buffet dinner is still on," said an official of the InterContinental Dhaka hotel.

Similarly though, the 226-room hotel's occupancy rate has dropped below 30 per cent.

Only 10 to 15 rooms were booked per day in the last five days at the Renaissance Dhaka Gulshan Hotel, another upscale hotel in Dhaka with 211 rooms, according to an official of the hotel.

"The crushing impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry has had a devastating effect on hotels in Bangladesh," said Abu Hanif Bari, company secretary and head of admin at Sena Hotel Developments which owns both the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden and Radisson Blu Chattogram Bay View hotels.

The 200-room Radisson Blu Dhaka currently boasts a 45 per cent occupancy rate. Usually, the hotel witnesses an average occupancy rate of 80 per cent this time of the year, he added.

Meanwhile, the Radisson Blu Chattogram's occupancy rate is now just 30 per cent.

The somewhat dire situation for the hotel industry may continue as flight frequency of both domestic and international airlines have dropped significantly.

"Qatar and Turkish airlines' crew members regularly stay at our hotel in Dhaka. However, this almost never happens anymore because of all the flight cancellations," Bari said.

He also urged the government to provide cash incentives and slash the VAT and supplementary duties to help the country's hospitality sector stay afloat.

The global travel sector is expected to lose about $820 billion in revenue, according to a Global Business Travel Association survey that was published on Tuesday.

The Six Seasons Hotel, which has 85 rooms that are mainly reserved for foreign clients, already lost Tk 1.5 crore since the outbreak began.

"Most of our guests come from China, Japan and Italy and these countries are the worst hit by coronavirus," said Md Al Amin, general manager of the hotel, adding that the business will suffer the most between March and June.

The occupancy rate at Amari Dhaka sank to just 10 per cent, said its chairman Ashok Kejriwal.

Kejriwal believes that the business will not recover until August due to the upcoming Eid festivals as few foreign guests visit the country during that time.

"The impact of the virus will only add to the woes."

The hotel regularly provides lodgings for Air Arabia crew members. However, that too has been on hold at the 134-room hotel due to the epidemic.

Occupancy rates at Le Méridien Dhaka have dropped from 90-95 per cent to about 60 per cent, according to officials of the hotel, which has 304 rooms.

Flight crews of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways and Emirates regularly stayed at the hotel but after the coronavirus outbreak, almost all the airlines cancelled their bookings as there were fewer flights going in or out.

"Since the virus is spreading all over the globe, business at the Dhaka Regency Hotel & Resort is deteriorating," said Shahid Hamid, executive director of the hotel.

The occupancy rate at the 220-room hotel is now at 30 per cent, he added.

If the virus continues to spread, it will force the hotel industry to cut down on jobs, according to industry leaders.

"When hotel owners will have to pay staff wages for the month of March, they will face a harsh reality. I don't know how they will pay the wages without cutting down on workers," said HM Hakim Ali, president of the Bangladesh International Hotel Association. 



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12:00 AM, October 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:12 AM, October 02, 2020

Liner promises boost to sea tourism

Mohammad Suman


MV One Bay, now anchored at Chattogram Marine Fisheries Academy Jetty, Offers 2,000 cabin accommodations including presidential suites, bunk beds and twin bed cabins. Photo: RAJIB RAIHAN


Saint Martin's island is on the verge of witnessing a new chapter in tourist transport as a vessel formerly engaged in ferrying people in Japan is due to pioneer a route connecting the coral isle to Chattogram via Cox's Bazar.

The 393-feet long, 55-feet wide MV One Bay was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1992 according to websites on marine traffic and offers 2,000 cabin accommodations including presidential suites, bunk beds and twin bed cabins.




It has been taken on a 10-year lease from a Singapore-based company by Karnafuly Ship Builders, which plans to eventually use it for a diverse range of sea tourism in Bangladesh, subject to government clearance.

All plans will have to wait till December for repairs to be carried out, said the company officials.

Arriving at the Chattogram port on September 19, MV One Bay is now anchored at Chattogram Marine Fisheries Academy Jetty.

Once repairs were complete, permission would be sought from the government to begin operations, Abdur Rashid, managing director of the privately-owned shipbuilding company, told The Daily Star.

"For the first time in Bangladesh, we have brought a cruise ship of international standard, which will help the country's tourism sector enter a new era," he said.

It could cost anywhere between Tk 200 crore and Tk 250 crore to build such a vessel from scratch but since the service was the first of its kind, the company decided running it on lease.

The company plans to outright buy the vessel if there is good response from tourists, he added.

Apart from Karnafuly Ship Builders, there are several local companies ferrying people to Saint Martin's island, but only from Cox's Bazar, from where one trip is run daily, and Teknaf, from where three trips are run a day.

With its 18-feet draft, MV One Bay has an average speed of 16.1 nautical miles per hour and a maximum speed of 24 nautical miles per hour.

It is registered with International Maritime Organization and capable of deep sea travel even when cautionary signal 5 is in place for inclement weather, according to the company's officials. Cautionary signal 4 usually calls a stop to vessel movement.


The ship previously bore the name MV Salvia Maru and ferried people between Tokyo and Tokyo Islands.




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Revival of tourism industry

Published:  August 28, 2021 21:39:37

The tourism and hospitality industry people say they always remain at the top of the casualty list of any adverse situation and at the bottom of the recovery list. This statement appears to be true. At least, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has proved them right. As the deadly coronavirus started spreading, the countries across the world, at the first instance, closed their borders, leading to an international travel ban. Countries affected by the virus also imposed lockdown from time to time, hurting different economic activities, including tourism.

When restrictions were relaxed, taking advantage of a notable decline in infection and fatality rates, some sectors got the permission to operate, but not the travel and tourism industry that contributes modestly to the country's gross domestic product (GDP). So, it has been incurring huge losses throughout the pandemic period. The relevant industry association estimates the loss at about Tk.114 billion.

The country's travel and tourism, both domestic and foreign, had been on a growth trajectory until the pandemic struck in the early part of 2020. The international tourism expenditure in Bangladesh was over 1.2 billion US dollars in 2018. Most spectacular development was being noticed in the internal tourism. Domestic visitors developed a habit of thronging all tourist spots throughout the year. Hotels and resorts in those places also did brisk business. Thus, a booming industry started creating a substantial number of jobs. This was possible because of the availability of spendable cash in the hands of a burgeoning middle-class. 

But the shock the industry has got from the pandemic is overwhelming. Many units have been closed permanently, and about 0.3 million people working in hotels, restaurants, travel and tour operating agencies lost jobs. Hotels, including the posh ones, also suffered heavily. Their occupancy rate was as low as 20 per cent during the lockdown periods. Now, the government has partially withdrawn restrictions on the tourist spots and the hospitality industry. Some have started operations, but the response from the people has been lukewarm for understandable reasons. The rate of Covid infection, though declining, is still high, and tourism is not on the priority list of most people now as the pandemic has eaten into their savings. So, this industry, unlike others, would need more time to be in business even if the pandemic retreated.

The tourism and hospitality industry needs financial support to survive the ongoing crises. The government has made available a stimulus package worth Tk.10 billion for it. But its disbursement, reportedly, has not begun as the banks are yet to receive instructions from the central bank. The disbursement of loans needs to be expedited to help this important sector start operation and recoup its losses, at least partially.

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পহেলা সেপ্টেম্বর থেকে পর্যটকদের জন্য উন্মুক্ত হচ্ছে সুন্দরবন

Published:  August 30, 2021 17:14:34

মহামারীতে দ্বিতীয় দফায় সাড়ে চার মাস বন্ধ থাকার পর পহেলা সেপ্টেম্বর থেকে পর্যটকদের জন্য সুন্দরবন উন্মুক্ত হচ্ছে।

খুলনা অঞ্চলের বন সংরক্ষক মিহির কুমার দো জানিয়েছেন, সুন্দরবন ভ্রমণ নীতিমালা অনুসরণ করে প্রতিটি লঞ্চ-জাহাজে সর্বোচ্চ ৭৫ জন যাত্রী বহন করার কথা বলা হয়েছে। ভ্রমণে অবশ্যই সামাজিক দূরত্ব ও স্বাস্থ্যবিধি মানতে হবে।

এ সময় সুন্দরবনের করমজল, কটকা, কচিখালী, হরবাড়িয়া, হিরণ পয়েন্ট, দুবলা, নীলকমলসহ সমুদ্র তীরবর্তী এবং বনাঞ্চলের বিভিন্ন স্থানে লঞ্চ, ট্যুরবোট, ট্রলারসহ বিভিন্ন নৌযানে যেতে পারবেন দর্শনার্থীরা, খবর বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকমের।

মাহমারীর কারণে ২০২০ সালের ২৬ মার্চ থেকে সুন্দরবন ভ্রমণের ওপর নিষেধাজ্ঞা জারি করা হয়। পরিস্থিতি কিছুটা শিথিল হলে ২০২০ সালের ১ নভেম্বর থেকে স্বল্প পরিসরে সুন্দরবন ভ্রমণের সুযোগ দেওয়া হয়। সে সময়ে প্রতি জাহাজে ৫০ জন যাত্রী বহনের অনুমতি দেওয়া হয়েছিল।

করোনা সংক্রমণ বেড়ে যাওয়ায় গত ৩ এপ্রিল আবার সুন্দরবনে দর্শনার্থী প্রবেশে নিষেধাজ্ঞা দেওয়া হয়। গত সাড়ে চার মাস ধরে সুন্দরবন ভ্রমণ বন্ধ রয়েছে।

সংশ্লিষ্টরা জানান, খুলনায় প্রায় শতাধিক ট্যুর অপারেটর আছে। পর্যটনের সঙ্গে সম্পৃক্ত আছেন প্রায় ১৫০০ কর্মকর্তা ও কর্মচারী। বনে প্রবেশে নিষেধাজ্ঞা থাকায় ট্যুর অপারেটরদের বিশাল ক্ষতি হয়েছে। কিছুটা হলেও তারা এখন ক্ষতি পুষিয়ে নেওয়ার চেষ্টা করবেন।

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Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation launches online hotel booking services

Published:  September 01, 2021 20:09:00


Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation has launched online hotel-motel booking services on its website, promising the services on mobile by next one month.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali inaugurated the online reservation and hotel management system at a meeting on the enterprise resource planning project at the Secretariat on Wednesday.

“Tourists will be able to reserve rooms at the BPC’s hotel and motel from any part of the world by clicking https://hotels.gov.bd. Customers will have the opportunity to give feedback as well,” the state minister said.

“The services will be available on mobile phones on Sept 27 marking the World Tourism Day.”

Online payment option is also available now on the BPC’s website through a mobile banking app, including debit and credit cards.

“The services will strengthen the national tourism board’s internal management and monitoring system of each hotel and motel, easing the way to ensure transparency and accountability. Customers’ feedback will also help us to solve the service-related issues soon,” Mahbub Ali said, reports bdnews24.com. 

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Jashim Uddin & Kamran Siddiqui

13 October, 2021, 10:35 pm

Last modified: 13 October, 2021, 11:32 pm

Battered by pandemic, luxury hotel projects in distress

At least 17 star-category hotels – 13 five-star – involving Tk6,000 crore investment have had to shelve 2025 launch plans



Holiday Inn Dhaka, a newly constructed four-star hotel at Tejgaon near Hatirjheel in the city, was all set to start welcoming guests from March 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic rained on the parade.

One and a half years later, only the gymnasium of the 200-room hospitality property is being used by its managing director and his son for their morning exercise while all the staffers, except for a few engaged in maintenance and security, have been laid off in the meantime.

Like Holiday Inn, at least 17 star-category hotels – including 13 five-star ones – that involve Tk6,000 crore investment and were slated for launch within 2025 have had to shelve their plans for now because of Covid disruptions, according to industry insiders.

Sheraton Hotel in Banani was also supposed to open at the end of March last year but could not do so because of the slump caused by the pandemic.

The international hotel chains that are expanding business in Bangladesh include Hotel Sheraton, Holiday Inn, JW Marriott, Swissotel, Hyatt Regency, Element Hotel, Saint Regis Hotel and Dusit Hotels.

These new hotels will have more than 3,000 rooms and are expected to create at least 6,000 jobs.

Local entrepreneurs usually build luxury hotels while international hotel chains operate them under a profit-sharing arrangement.

Around 60%-70% of the building costs of such hotels are met with bank loans and the rest come from their equities, industry players said.

A star category hotel recruits 1.7 to 1.8 employees against a room, said Md Al Amin, hotel manager, The Westin Dhaka and Cluster In-Charge of Sales & Marketing at The Westin Dhaka & Sheraton Dhaka.

He added that the interior design of a room in a star category hotel costs a minimum Tk30 lakh. On average, around Tk500 crore is needed to build a five-star hotel with 250 rooms.

Mentioning that the novel coronavirus halted the progress of the ongoing projects, industry insiders said even though the pandemic situation has improved now, construction work is yet to pick up the pace. Entrepreneurs are still not sure when they will be able to make their hotels operational as it remains uncertain as to when the overall economy will fully recover from the Covid shocks.

Many of the upcoming hotel projects have already been delayed by a year or more as most of them had stopped work amid the pandemic – a development that  also had a negative impact on the entrepreneurs' ability to bear loan instalments, they continued.

"Covid-19 has messed up everything and created uncertainty over the timely launch of upcoming hotels," said Md Alamin of The Westin Dhaka.

Even though the businesses of the star hotels already in operation have been showing signs of recovery, he said it will take at least up to the second quarter of 2022 for the business to return to half the pre-pandemic level.

Tk1,600 crore investment in three projects

Unique Hotel and Resorts has invested around Tk1,600 crore for building three hotels in Dhaka – Sheraton Dhaka Hotel, Hotel Hyatt Centric, and St Regis Hotel.

Of the amount, Tk457 crore has been invested in Sheraton Hotel, Tk533 crore in Hotel Hyatt, and Tk621 crore in St Regis Hotel.

"Sheraton Hotel in Banani is almost ready to go into operation this month as we have completed the appointment of around 400 employees.

"Besides, St Regis Hotel is in the construction phase although the work pace is slow due to Covid disruptions," he added.

"The name of 5-star Hyatt Centric Dhaka Hotel has changed as it would be operated as Westin Residence. All civil engineering work on the hotel has already been completed," he added.

The company plans to launch the five-star Westin Residence Dhaka Hotel in Gulshan by 2024 and the seven-star St Regis Hotel by 2025, added Al Amin.

Other projects

One of the world's leading hotel companies, InterContinental Hotel Group, in partnership with local Marium Group had started to build Holiday Inn Dhaka.

Because of the pandemic, the authorities had to cancel their plan to launch the hotel. Even the general manager of the hotel, Daniel Ludwig, had to go back home in September this year, closing his Bangladesh assignment.

Speaking to TBS, its head of sales and marketing Dhiraj Roy, however, said they were planning for a soft lunch by this November. He also mentioned that they were re-hiring the old employees and also recruiting new ones.

Another hotel by international chain Swissotel Hotels and Resorts with a capacity of 375 rooms is under construction on the Gulshan-Tejgaon Link Road in the capital.

Bengal Hotels & Resorts Limited, a sister concern of the Bengal Group of Industries, is the local partner of the Swissotel Dhaka.

Bengal Group Vice-Chairman Md Jashim Uddin earlier told TBS that their hotel was scheduled to open doors for guests in 2022, but the launch may be deferred because of the pandemic.

Amari Dhaka Hotel had plans to launch another hotel, Hotel Ozo in Gulshan, by 2022, but the project has been put on hold due to the pandemic.

"We initially rented a building for the interior decoration of the hotel. However, the project remains halted at this moment as per management decision," said an official of the Amari Hotel, wishing anonymity. He, however, did not clarify the reason behind the decision.

Radisson Hotel Group and the Grand Hotel and Hospitality Limited had jointly planned to set up a new luxury hotel in Khulna that features 150 rooms.

Radisson Hotel Khulna, scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2023, will be a brand new upscale hotel close to the heart of the second-tier port city.

Howard Johnson Hotel, a Wyndham Hotel Group brand, has planned to launch by 2022 in Dhaka. The under-construction hotel is in the Mohakhali area in the capital.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the hotel and restaurant sector posted a 7.28% growth in the fiscal 2018-19. The figure was 7.13% in the previous fiscal year.

The business size of the sector was Tk7,300 crore in FY19, according to the BBS.

According to the civil aviation and tourism ministry's Hotel and Restaurant Cell, the country has 17 five-star, six four-star and 20 three-star hotels.

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Ripon Dey

27 November, 2021, 11:20 am

Last modified: 27 November, 2021, 11:27 am

Community-based tourism sees huge potential in Moulvibazar



Some 30 families are currently involved in community tourism at the Monipuri village of Moulvibazar’s Kamalganj upazila. The pilot project was initiated by the government two years ago. Photo: TBS

Nowadays, Parimol Sing, a member of the ethnic Monipuri community in Moulvibazar, is busy readying his homes to welcome prospective guests. He can accommodate four visitors at once, all of whom can share his home and break bread with his family.

"Once I lived hand to mouth; now, I am solvent," said Parimol.

For a single day, he charges Tk1,700 per guest, making a profit of Tk1,000. The earning is far removed from earlier when Jhum cultivation was one of the few things Parimol could rely on for a living.

Two years ago, the government initiated a pilot project titled "Monipuri Community-based Tourism" at Monipuri village of Moulvibazar's Kamalganj upazila.

A few months later, it formed the "Monipuri Community-based Tourism committee" to oversee the business in the area. Currently, the committee has 80 members, of which Parimol is one.

He began the business with one room only back in 2018. His success has inspired others in the community to follow suit.

He said about 30 families in the village are now fully involved in the business.

"All the tourists, particularly foreigners, who come, enjoy their trips very much. They taste our meals, wear our dresses, and use our handicraft products," he said, adding that they often organise dance and other cultural programmes to entertain the visitors.

Although the project began with much fanfare, over the years it has lost some steam.

Insiders say the authorities have not looked after the project much. Much of the potential remains untapped and despite its success, the government was yet to launch similar initiatives elsewhere.

"To popularise non-traditional tourism, the government needs to promote it worldwide, rather than taking on small-scale initiatives," Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh President Md Rafeuzzaman opined.

He said community-based tourism was now very popular in many countries, including India and some African nations.

Bangladesh had ample resources, including attractive spots and tribal communities with different cultures, for such non-traditional tourism.

"We just need branding," he said, adding that local host communities should be trained properly, as well.

Untapped potential

The Moulvibazar community-based tourism is set to be a gamechanger for the fortunes of the indigenous community, which had so far relied mostly on betel leaf cultivation.

In community-based tourism, local communities are the entrepreneurs; they arrange accommodation and provide services.

This kind of tourism economically empowers host communities and provides space for sharing experiences and having cultural exchanges. Globally, the sector is worth billions of dollars.

"One of our surveys says at least 5,000 tourists come to Sreemangal every day to visit the greenery and the mountains. If we can popularise community-based tourism, about one-third of the tourists would be interested to opt for the non-traditional tourism to add an extra dimension to their trips," said Sreemangal Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nazrul Islam, adding that the ethnic minorities can bag about Tk15 crore per month in earnings.

He estimated that the sector can be grown to be worth roughly Tk100-200 crore annually with a proper plan.

With its steadily growing reputation, Moulvibazar, is a desired destination for tourists seeking the soothing solitude of nature as a respite from the chaotic urban life.

Around 40% of the people in the district directly or indirectly benefit from the tourism sector, the UNO said.

The Monipuri Community-based Tourism project offered visitors a chance to glimpse into the lives of tribal communities, take their traditional meals, and enjoy their cultural beauties.

The initiative proved to be popular, but more can be done.

"If we can popularise community-based tourism, it would be great for the minorities, as well as for tourists," said Md Mehedi Hasan, additional deputy commissioner of the district.

"We are planning to work for the sector, and will consult insiders soon," he said, adding that ensuring security for tourists, as well as for the hosts, and other challenges should be addressed first.

He hoped community-based tourism would be a great alternative income source for the ethnic groups.

Entrepreneurs there said they can perform better if they get help from the government. Many want to enter, but are unable to due to lack of capital.

Many visitors come to the area on the occasion of different festivals of Marma, Khasia, Garo, Tripura, Munda, and Santal, and they can be attracted to the community-based tourism, they said, calling on the government to come up with a bigger plan to boost the sector.

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InterContinental Dhaka incurs losses for three years

 Mohammad Mufazzal |  December 06, 2021 00:00:00



The net loss of Bangladesh Services is ballooning.

The company which provides hospitality services and pioneered the establishment of country's first luxury hotel InterContinental Dhaka incurred losses in last three years.

Besides, the company's liabilities also crossed current assets during the years.

Bangladesh Services incurred a net loss of Tk 1.81 billion for the fiscal year (FY) 2020-21.

The company's current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Tk 1.60 billion as at 30 June 2021.

"…a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern," the auditor said in its report included in the financial statement.

Preferring anonymity, an official of Bangladesh Services said the company incurred increased loss as InterContinental Dhaka was out of business for around seven years due to renovation works and the outbreak of Covid-19.

"InterContinental Dhaka now is doing business and its outcome is likely to be reflected positively in the financial statements of the ongoing FY," the official said.

Meanwhile, the company has reported a loss of Tk 3.98 per share for July-September 2021 as against the loss of Tk 1.24 per share for July-September 2020.

"The EPS have been decreased further in the current quarter than that of the corresponding period of the last year due to the poor revenue generation due to COVID 19 and increase of administrative and other expenses," said the company in a disclosure posted on the website of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).

In the FY 2019-20, the company reported a net loss of Tk 462.94 million. Its current liabilities exceeded current assets by 1.43 billion as on 30 June 2020.

Bangladesh Services reported a net loss of Tk 364.39 million for the FY 2018-19. As of 30 June 2019, the company's current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Tk 1.06 billion.

In a disclosure, Bangladesh Services said it saw net loss and rise in current liabilities mainly due to the renovation work for which the company's hotel operation was temporarily suspended.

Bangladesh Services, presently a 'Z' category company, was listed on the stock exchange in 1984.

The government holds 99.68 per cent shares while institutes hold 0.19 per cent and general public 0.13 per cent of Bangladesh Services.

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Cox's Bazar tourism faces Tk 500m loss in 3 months

 OUR CORRESPONDENT, COX'S BAZAR | Published:  January 09, 2022 10:05:27

The tourism business in Cox's Bazar has incurred a loss of Tk half a billion in the past three months due to the non-achievement of targets.

From October to December, the tourism sector expected a business of at least Tk 5 billion (500 crore) from Cox's Bazar, the longest sea beach in the world.

However, businesses in the sea beach area faced huge losses for a small number of visitors during the ongoing peak tourism season, said people related to the sector.

Abul Kashem Sikder, general secretary of Cox's Bazar Hotel Motel Guesthouse Owners' Association, said, "This time, Cox's Bazar tourism sector had to encounter a loss of around Tk 500 million."

On the occasion of celebrating Thirty First Night and New Year, more than 100,000 tourists visited Cox's Bazar. The number is five times less in comparison to previous years, said business insiders.

According to them, the situation has arisen due to some recent incidents including the gang rape of a woman, security concerns, and stories about excessive costs of having a meal in Cox's Bazar hotels and restaurants.

On December 23, a 25-year-old woman was allegedly raped several times by members of a criminal group during a family trip in the resort town.

The leaders of Cox's Bazar Hotel Motel Guesthouse Owners' Association said that tourists did not come to Cox's Bazar as expected this season.

Many hotels are now almost empty without any visitors and pre-bookings, they added.

On this, the district administration and law enforcement agencies said they are somewhat embarrassed and working to build a tourist-friendly Cox's Bazar.

Mohiuddin Ahmed, Additional Superintendent of Police, Cox's Bazar Tourist Police, said, "We are working hard for the safety of each and every tourist."

Cox's Bazar Additional Superintendent of Police (Administration) Rafiqul Islam said, "Police along with the tourist police are also vigilant on the beach and in the tourist zone."

"We have already arrested several accused in those incidents," he added.

Cox's Bazar Hotel Motel Guesthouse Owners' Association general secretary, Abul Kashem Sikder, said, "The wrong message of keeping extra food price and the rape incident caused great loss to the tourism industry.

"Businesses have been seeing constant losses due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Meanwhile, we did not even get 50 per cent hotel booking on New Year's eve. We expected a business of at least Tk 5 billion (500 crore) from October to December. But on the contrary, the loss was Tk half a billion," he added.

He also informed the Financial Express that now even in the busy season, tourists are not coming to Cox's Bazar.

Asked about this, Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar, Mamunur Rashid, said, "We have taken a number of steps to improve the quality of tourism services in Cox's Bazar."

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২ জুন থেকে রাজধানীতে আন্তর্জাতিক পর্যটন মেলা শুরু

স্টার অনলাইন রিপোর্ট

শনিবার, মে ২৮, ২০২২ ০৮:৫১ অপরাহ্ন


করোনা মহামারিতে বিপর্যস্ত পর্যটন খাতের পুনরুদ্ধারে দেশের শীর্ষস্থানীয় ভ্রমণ ও পর্যটন বিষয়ক প্রকাশনা বাংলাদেশ মনিটর ১৭তম আন্তর্জাতিক পর্যটন মেলার আয়োজন করছে।

আগামী ২ জুন রাজধানীর প্যান প্যাসিফিক সোনারগাঁ হোটেলে ট্রিপ লাভার ঢাকা ট্রাভেল মার্ট-২০২২ শীর্ষক ৩ দিনব্যাপী মেলাটি শুরু হচ্ছে।

বাংলাদেশ মনিটরের সম্পাদক কাজী ওয়াহিদুল আলম আজ শনিবার প্যান প্যাসিফিক সোনারগাঁ হোটেলে আয়োজিত এক সংবাদ সম্মেলনে এ তথ্য জানান।

ওয়াহিদুল আলম জানান, এবারের মেলায় প্রায় ৫০টি দেশি-বিদেশি প্রতিষ্ঠান অংশগ্রহণ করছে। যার মধ্যে আছে- জাতীয় পর্যটন সংস্থা, এয়ারলাইন, ট্যুর অপারেটর, হোটেল, রিসোর্ট, ট্রাভেল এজেন্সি, অনলাইন ট্রাভেল এজেন্সি, স্বাস্থ্যসেবা প্রদানকারী এবং অন্যান্য প্রতিষ্ঠান।

৩ দিনব্যাপী পর্যটন মেলা প্রতিদিন সকাল ১০টা থেকে রাত ৮টা পর্যন্ত চালু থাকবে। এবারের মেলার প্রবেশ মূল্য নির্ধারণ করা হয়েছে জনপ্রতি ৪০ টাকা।

ঢাকা ট্রাভেল মার্ট চলাকালীন ৪ জুন বিকেল সাড়ে ৩টায় সোনারগাঁ হোটেলে 'আঞ্চলিক এভিয়েশন হাব হিসেবে বাংলাদেশের সম্ভাবনা' শীর্ষক একটি সেমিনার অনুষ্ঠিত হবে। সেখানে বেসামরিক বিমান চলাচল কর্তৃপক্ষের চেয়ারম্যান এয়ার ভাইস মার্শাল এম. মফিদুর রহমান মূল প্রবন্ধ উপস্থাপন করবেন। আলোচক হিসেবে অংশগ্রহণ করবেন- ফ্লাই ঢাকার ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক ব্যারিস্টার আনিসুল ইসলাম মোহাম্মদ, বিমান বাংলাদেশ এয়ারলাইন্সের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক ও প্রধান নির্বাহী আবু সালেহ মোস্তাফা কামাল, ইউএস-বাংলা এয়ারলাইন্সের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক মো. আবদুল্লাহ আল মামুন, নভোএয়ারের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক মফিজুর রহমান, এয়ার এস্ট্রার ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক ইমরান আসিফ এবং ইউনাইটেড এয়ারওয়েজ বিডি লিমিটেডের ব্যবস্থাপনা পরিচালক নজরুল ইসলাম।

ঢাকা ট্রাভেল মার্ট ২০২২ এর টাইটেল স্পন্সর শীর্ষস্থানীয় অনলাইন ট্রাভেল এজেন্সি ট্রিপ লাভার, কো-স্পন্সর ইউএস-বাংলা এয়ারলাইন্স। পার্টনার হিসেবে আয়োজনে সহযোগিতা করছে বিমান বাংলাদেশ এয়ারলাইন্স, বাংলাদেশ ট্যুরিজম বোর্ড এবং বাংলাদেশ পর্যটন কর্পোরেশন।


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