Tourist ships will start to operate on the Teknaf – Cox's Bazar route from Tuesday, confirmed Amin Al Parvez, additional deputy commissioner (revenue) of Cox's Bazar.
Keari Cruise and Dine will carry some 300 passengers on Tuesday, said Tofail Ahmed, president of the district branch of Podokkhep Bangladesh, a tourism organisation.
Six more ships – Keari Sindabad, Keari Dine, Parijaat, Farhan, Rajhangsho, and Sukanta Babu – have already submitted applications to the district administration to be allowed to operate on the route, Ahmed added.
The authorities will watch how things are after Keari Cruise and Dine starts operating and then allow more ships to run, said Abu Sufian, additional district magistrate (in charge of tourism), Cox's Bazar.
Anowar Hossain, of Keari Tours and Services Ltd's Cox's Bazar office, said they had an impressive turnout on Sunday of people who wanted to book tickets for Tuesday.
Earlier on 1 November, the authorities started to repair the old Saint Martin's jetty which has been in a dangerous condition for a while now. Even though the tourist season began on 27 September, authorities kept tourist ship operations to the island suspended for safety reasons and only service boats were permitted to run on the route.
Mujibur Rahman, president of Saint Martin's Union Awami League and a hotel owner, said almost one and a half months have gone by since the tourism season started, so hoteliers have already incurred losses.
"But we are now prepared to welcome tourists if all goes well," he added.