Tourists will not come to Cox's Bazar if the authorities concerned put a ban or restriction on visiting Saint Martin's Island, said the Tour Operators' Association of Cox's Bazar (TOAC).
Tofail Ahmed, president of TOAC, read out a statement during a press conference in the Radiant Fish World hall room in Cox's Bazar on Friday.
In his statement, he claimed that an international conspiracy was ongoing to destroy the tourism industry based on Cox's Bazar sea beach and Saint Martin's Island.
The businessmen of the sector have faced severe losses due to the closure of tourist spots amid Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
"The businessmen of the sector have not received any government assistance. The tourism industry will collapse if this decision is implemented," added Tofail.
He also sought the prime minister' direct intervention to withdraw such anti-tourism decisions and also attracted the premier's attention to their three-point demand.
Mofizur Rahman, chief adviser of TOAC, said, "Tk15,000 crore is invested every year in the tourism sector."
Businessmen of different classes invest the amount to attract the tourists to the spots during the five-months of the dry season, said Mofizur Rahman.
"If tourist arrivals in St Martin's Island are regulated, there is a greater risk of not getting back the invested money," he added.
The association also has 12 recommendations to address the crisis through implementation of eco-tourism.
Among others, Senior Vice President of the association Anwar Kamal, Vice President Hossain Islam Bahadur, General Secretary Asaf-Ud-Daula Ashek, and Organising Secretary Farooq Azam were present at the conference.