The tourism industry of Kuakata faced a severe blow as most of the tourists cancelled their bookings for the Eid holidays, due to the 48-hour countrywide general strike called by Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.
Bayezid Ashraf, manager of the 240-bed Motel Youth Inn of Parjatan Corporation in Kuakata said more than 80% of the bookings in different hotels and motels in Kuakata had been cancelled due to the announced shutdown and the inclement weather.
“We receive the highest number of tourists during Eid vacations, but the announcement of the shutdown has ruined our expectations, resulting in huge losses,” Hasanul Iqbal, spokesman of Kuakata Investors Forum said.
“Every year 5,000-10,000 tourists visit Kuakata, famous for its beautiful views of the sunrise and sunset from the beach.
However, we are facing pressures for cancellations of the advance bookings and refunding the amounts paid. The number of tourists will not exceed 500 this year,” said Motaleb Sharif, president Kuakata Hotel Motel Owners Association.
The tourism sector of the country has been going through a rough phase due to the political instability and frequent hartals, resulting in losses to the industry, he added.
Jamaat has called for a countrywide shutdown for August 13-14, in protest against a High Court verdict that cancelled its registration with the Election Commission, forcing the holidaymakers to reschedule their travel plans
After the huge expenses incurred during Eid, people have a limited budget for tourism.
In such a scenario, if the tourists have to remain confined to certain places due to the hartal, then it is not feasible for the families to incur the extra cost of travel for a holiday, the business community leaders explained.
“We have cancelled our tours considering the hartal, because we do not like to be confined to the beach for 48 hours under adverse weather,” Ahmed Raju, a businessman of Barisal said.