The tourism industry in Bandarban is facing a crisis due to the ongoing political unrest in the country and the ongoing 60-hour hartal enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance.
Tourist numbers are down in spots including Meghla, Sarnamondir, and Nilachol, and many of those already there are leaving the resort district, fearing further violence.
Owners of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants said they were incurring huge losses with a total of 45 hotels and motels which were booked earlier now facing cancellations.
Asish Dhar, manager of city’s Green Hill hotel, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are passing a very tough time. We are not getting tourists even after offering discounts.”
Only 50 tickets are being sold now daily at Meghna Tourist Spot, down from 2,000-2,500 only a few days ago. The same tourist spots were bustling with tourists during Eid, Puja and Adivasi Probarona.
Vehicles usually reserved for tourists are now sitting idle. Jeep driver Ratan Mallik said his daily income was decreasing day-by-day: “I do not know when the country’s situation will be stable and the flow of tourists will increase.”
Rabiul Islam, a tourist, expressed his astonishment at the current political condition. He opined that the political parties should keep the tourist spots of the country outside the purview of hartal, keeping in mind the economic development of the country.
Office-in-charge of Bandarban sadar police station Imtiaj Ahmed said: “We always try to ensure safety for the tourists.”
Earlier, the district was facing a dearth of tourists due to the unrest between indigenous people and Banglee settlers.