The Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (Toab) has strongly urged the government to reopen all tourist destinations across the country maintaining health safety guidelines, and allow them to operate at 50% capacity.
Reopening the tourist spots following health guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure will allow this industry to recover from the pandemic's impacts and prevent further damage to this sector, Toab President Md Rafiuzzaman said in a press release on Tuesday.
He added that the government has already permitted the reopening of all sectors including public transportation, restaurants, and factories, so tourist destinations should be permitted to reopen as well.
The press release further said, "The tourism sector of Bangladesh will incur a loss of around Tk9,000 crore this year if the tourist spots and the relevant businesses remain closed until December 2021 due to the Covid-19.
"After the first wave of coronavirus, Bangladesh's tourism industry had been trying to recover some of its losses through domestic tourism, but the second wave pushed the tourism industry into uncertainty yet again."
The government must ensure that businesses related to tourism get bank loans amid the pandemic and exempt them from paying the licence renewal fee as long as the Covid-19 crisis continues, Toab said in its release.
The tourism and hospitality sector – one of the industries hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic due to all the border closures, travel restrictions and lockdowns – is facing an existential threat amid a lack of support from banks.