Tourism business felt the pinch due to the two-day transport strike ended on Wednesday as hundreds of them remained stranded in Cox’s Bazar and St Martin’s island.
St Martin island remained cut off from the mainland while tourists at Cox’s Bazar and in Sylhet areas suffered the same as there were no vehicles available to reach the capital.
As tourist season has set in, hundreds of tourists are leaving Dhaka every day for making holidays with their friends and relatives.
On Tuesday, transport workers called strike after two fellow drivers were convicted.
“We came here (St Martins) to spend a beautiful time, but the sudden transport strike turned it into a nightmare. We were supposed to return to the capital Wednesday, but failed, and later, we had to manage money through bkash,” said Mizanur Rahman, a banker.
“Our tickets are booked, but we are not sure when to return to Dhaka.”
SM Mujahid, a businessman in Dhaka, said: “It was a nice time while we reached Cox’s Bazar. After reaching there we got to know about the sudden strike all over the country which destroyed all our funs and merriments.”
According to the estimate of hoteliers, some 2,500 to 3,000 tourists were stranded in the island while around 10,000 remain stuck in Cox’s Bazar.
Tour operators also incurred a huge loss as many tourists cancelled their tours due to transport strike.
Iqbal Hossain Sazzad, chief executive officer, Eureka Tours Operator at St Martin’s islandm, told the Dhaka Tribune that on the first day of strike there were around 60 tourists to handle while on the second day, 50 tourists were supposed to arrive in St Martins, but all cancelled their tour.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Tito Siddique, CEO, Excellence Asia, said considering the current situation, many tourists have cancelled their tour. Once they cancel it, their possibility to re-visit become very slim.
Sources said every day five to six ships go back and forth between St Martin and Teknaf.
According to Tofail Ahmed, managing director of MV Bangali, the ship mainly carries tourists from Teknaf to St Martin.
“Despite loss, We carried passengers on Tuesday considering people’s sufferings.”
Though transport leaders called off strike at Wednesday noon, many holidaymakers failed to reach Dhaka due to mismanagement of transport owners.