Amid doubling and tripling of air fares to and from the Middle East, the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) has urged the government to control ticket prices of all local and foreign airlines which operate flights on the route.
The ATAB sent a letter to the State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali on Sunday, demanding a decrease in fares and increase in the number of flights.
"Ticket prices on various routes in the Middle East till November 2021 were Tk40,000 to Tk45,000, but are now between Tk70,000 to Tk90,000. This is unreasonable and irrational. This is an impossible amount for migrants who are going to the country to work," read the letter.
"The Saudi government has recently increased the work visa quota for Bangladeshis. In addition, visit visas and employment visas are being issued at a higher rate in favour of Bangladeshi expatriates going to the UAE. Due to this, the demand from expatriate workers has increased," it added.
It mentioned that due to the increased demand, airlines have increased fares.
A ticket for Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-bound flight would cost only Tk30,000 in pre-pandemic times, but now it has doubled, according to travel agents.
The ticket price, however, also saw a rise during the pandemic, with a slight fall in November this year. But now, it is again on a rising trend.
Fewer flights amid the travel restrictions, a poor number of return-ticket holders and thin movement of tourists, along with an obligation to maintain standard operating procedures has led to an increase in operating costs, are also said to be causes behind the ticket price hike.
Meanwhile, a press conference will be held on Tuesday by the ATAB to resolve the ongoing crisis.