Thousands of tourists thronged the world's longest natural sea beach of Cox's Bazar on Thursday, to enjoy the last sunset of the year.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic there is no 31st event arrangement this year. Still, more than one lakh tourists have flocked to Cox's Bazar for a three-day holiday, occupying all the over 450 hotels, motels and resorts of the seaside town.
The beach became over crowded since the afternoon as people gathered with their near and dear ones to enjoy the year's last sunset, forgetting the nightmarish memory of the ongoing pandemic.
The district tourist police are on high alert to ensure security to the tourists. Additional police were also deployed. To prevent harassment of tourists most of the tourist spots have been brought under CCTV cameras. Besides, the beach workers of the district administration advised the tourists to maintain hygiene rules to prevent corona infection.
Mohammad Ullah, a tourist from Narsingdi, said "I have come to Cox's Bazar with all my family members to enjoy the end of the year and the arrival of the New Year. I am having a lot of fun with the family on the beach."
He said he had not been anywhere for a long time since the pandemic began.
Shafiqul Islam, manager of Hotel Mohammadia Guest House, said, "Every year all hotels and motels are usually decorated with banners and festoons to bid farewell to the going year as well as to welcome the New Year. But this year, the situation is different due to the pandemic. However, room booking in hotels and motels has been the same as before."
Shafiqul expected that more than 2,00,000 tourists would throng the beach town of Cox's Bazar to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new year.
Syed Murad Islam, executive magistrate and assistant commissioner-in-charge of the tourism cell of district administration, said no celebrating event marking the 31st night event was approved this time to contain the second wave of corona pandemic.
"We are doing our best to stem spread of the second wave. If any hotel organises any celebratory event without permission, action will be taken through a mobile court. Two mobile courts of the district administration will be on patrol from evening till midnight," the executive magistrate added.
Abdul Quader Mishu, director of Ocean Paradise hotel, said the year 2020 was completely different as it brought a deadly global pandemic with it. This year has been a nightmare for us. But, I wish the pandemic would go away with the year and hope to have a beautiful year in 2021.
Tourist Police Cox's Bazar Zone Superintendent Zillur Rahman said adequate uniformed police have been deployed in the beach area for the safety of tourists. Special rescue team of tourist police and eve teasing control team are on guard to avoid any untoward incident. Various other steps have also been taken for the safety of tourists.
"Tourist police continue patrolling the beach with beach bikes. There are more than 50 trained lifeguards from 3 private lifeguard organisations. The entire beach, including the control room and observation tower, is under police surveillance," he added.