The renowned cruise ship ‘Silver Discoverer’, owned by Monaco-based luxury cruise line Silversea, has arrived in Cox’s Bazar’s Maheshkhali in Bangladesh carrying 95 foreign holidaymakers.
The voyage titled “Colombo to Kolkata Asia Expedition Cruise,” started on February 11 from Sri Lanka’s Colombo and will end its 14-day tour in Kolkata.
After several years of efforts by Journey Plus, a Bangladesh tour operator, Silversea agreed to open new routes in the region adding Bangladesh.
“The ship arrived at Maheshkhali channel around 11am Wednesday and left the island for Sundarbans in the afternoon,” Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ali Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Bangladesh is now on the world’s cruise map and this voyage will help boosting future tourism of the country,” said Tawfiq Rahman, chief executive of Journey Plus.
“The tourist ship will arrive at Sundarbans’ Hiron Point on Thursday while it is scheduled to leave Bangladesh on Saturday after four-day trip.”
He further said: “The tourists on this trip are mainly from the European countries, however, the tourist company does not want to share much about their clients showing security concern.”
“They visited the Adinath Temple and some other tourist spots in the island. The security measures were tightened during their visit to the island,” Maheshkhali Upazila Nirbahi Officer Abul Kalam told the Dhaka Tribune.
After the Holy Artisan attack in Gulshan last year, Bangladesh’s tourism sector faced sharp fall, this type of visit would raise positive image, said businessmen, authorities and stakeholders.
“Such initiatives may inspire tourists from other countries to visit the world’s longest sea beach and world’s biggest mangrove forest,” said Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam.
Silversea has started carrying tourists on two routes through Bay of Bengal. One is Colombo-Kolkata via Cox’s Bazar and another is Kolkata-Thailand via Bangladesh and Myanmar.