Domestic tourism in Chittagong Hill Tracts areas bears the brunt of recent heavy rain and landslides, with hotels and resorts in the regions suffering low occupancy.
Hotel reservations in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari remain very low even at this peak time ahead of Eid vacation as local travellers are seemingly panicky due to the environmental catastrophe.
Hotel owners and tour operators attribute the fall of their tourism business to the natural disasters.
Despite the fact that Cox's Bazar hoteliers have got some advanced bookings, the Sundarbans-based tour operators goes counter to that.
No tour boats are being floated for the Sundarbans from the capital's Sadarghat as the operators did not get any early bookings.
Every year, domestic tourism gets momentum ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, but this year is an exception.
Hotel owners are not satisfied with whatever early bookings they have got so far, as many rooms are still falling vacant.
A Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) official Mohammad Hossain Masum said after the recent landslides in the hill areas, all bookings had been cancelled, but after resumption of public transportation day before yesterday, hotels are getting bookings few and far between.
Not only Parjatan Corporation, most hotel bookings in the district had been cancelled.
“Though no landslide occurred in Bandarban, it sent shock waves among tour-loving people,” said Zakir Hossain, Holiday Inn owner in the district.
The tour operator, Excellence Asia's CEO, Tito Siddique, said landslides affected the tourists in hill tracts areas very badly as road communication was shut due to heavy rain.
“While tourists come to visit Cox's Bazar, they buy a package that includes either Rangamati or Bandarban, but due to landslides, many travellers have already cancelled their Cox's Bazar trip during Eid holidays,” he added.
Mentioning the previous year's tourism business, Tasbiha Alam, reservation supervisor, Hotel Coxtoday, said this year hospitality business is not quite satisfactory since room occupancy is very low.
“If we compare our business with that a year ago, it is not good enough, but we hope the situation might get better at the last moment.”
According to Syed Yameenul Huq, head of marketing and sales, Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort, they are satisfied with whatever bookings have got so far.
“Our resort at Inani is a little far from Cox's Bazar main beach. So tourists turn up here comparatively less than other hotels.”
The Sundarbans-based tour operators have called off their tourism package as inclement weather stands in the way of holidaymakers planning for a trip to the mangrove regions.
According to Masud Hossain, managing director, Bengal Tours Limited, nobody makes any query about the Sundarbans trip while last year there were enough bookings during Eid vacation.
Tour Planners Limited Managing Director Faridul Haque said: “The situation is quite reverse this year. As there is no booking, no tour operator will float any pleasure boat for the Sundarbans.”
Though hospitality business is on the downswing in the hill districts and Sundarbans, situation is normal in Sylhet region. Most hoteliers have got enough bookings ahead of Eid holidays.
Grand Sultan Hotel and Resort General Manager Arman Khan said: “Our advanced bookings are good enough. Most of the hotel rooms have been reserved before the vacation.”