Around five lakh people work in the tourism and hospitality sector of the country. Of them, 20-30 percent of the employees may lose their jobs because of the impact of coronavirus, said Md Rafiuzzaman, president of the Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (Toab).
Taufiq Rahman, member of Toab and chief executive officer of the tour operating company Journey Plus, said, "We are now being deprived of the turnover in the sector from February to April, which has been estimated at Tk4,500-Tk5,000crore."
The leaders of Toab made the observation at a press conference on "Effect of Coronavirus on Bangladesh Tourism Industry and Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair (BTTF) 2020" in the national press club on Monday.
They demanded incentives from the government to face the crisis.
"We have not estimated the exact amount of losses. But inbound and outbound tour operators, hoteliers and the aviation sector in general are facing losses," said Taufiq.
Toab has suspended its largest annual event titled "Bangladesh Travel and Tourism Fair 2020," which was scheduled to be held from April 3 to April 5.
It will now be held from October 29 to October 31 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital, according to the association.
However, Toab leaders presented several recommendations to the government to tackle the crisis. Some of the recommendations are -- easy and low-cost visa access, relaxing unnecessary rules and regulations at land ports and airports, decreasing taxes on tourists and air tickets, and giving incentives and bank loans to tour operators on easy terms and conditions.
Jabed Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), said, the aviation and tourism ministry has formed a crisis management committee for the sector.
"We have added all authorities concerned and representatives from the private sector in the committee," added Jabed.
Toab Vice-President Abul Kalam Azad, Director (trade and fair) Anwar Hossain, and Moniruzzaman Masum, director (finance), were present at the briefing.