BTTF-2020 deferred to October 29-31 from originally planned April 3-5 due to the virus outbreak
Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) yesterday claimed around 80% local tourists cancelled their travel packages and air tickets in the last couple of weeks as the novel coronavirus outbreak hit the global aviation industry.
If the situation persists, nearly 30% tourism sector employees might lose their jobs, association leaders feared.
TOAB President Rafeuzzaman came up with the observations in a press conference at National Press Club in the capital. Chief Executive Officer of the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) Javed Ahmed was present in the program, among others.
In the briefing, the TOAB placed six- point demand to revive the struggling tourism sector, including the relaxation of unnecessary restrictions at the country's airports and land ports.
“China, Japan, Singapore, India and Italy are the large markets for Bangladeshi tourists. The attractive tourist destinations have been hit hard due to the novel coronavirus," said Rafeuzzaman and added that the deadly virus badly impacted the entire tourism sector.
"About 80% Bangladeshi tourists canceled their air tickets and tour packages planned for Asian countries including Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore and Thailand. In the same way, majority foreign tourists also cancelled their trips to the country,” he added.
The TOAB president said the country's tourism sector contributed sizably to GDP. "If the situation continues, the sector as well as the country's economy will suffer," he added.
The government yesterday imposed a ban on travel from all European countries except for the UK till March 31 to contain the outbreak of coronavirus.
The coronavirus death toll topped 6,523 worldwide and the number of confirmed cases hit 170,002 till yesterday.
Meanwhile, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) warned that about 50 million people would lose their jobs in the tourism sector globally due to the virus epidemic.
Due to the spread of the virus, the country's largest tourism fair, Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair (BTTF)-2020, has been deferred to October 29-31 from originally planned April 3-5 this year.
The TOAB announced the new fair schedule in the conference.
In the conference, the TOAB placed six-point demand to the government.
It urged the government to withdraw all travel bans, issue visas with relaxed conditions, reduce the travel tax, cut tax on air tickets and provide incentive and easy-term loan to tour operators.