The year 2019 will bid farewell with the setting of the sun on Tuesday. The year will pass into memory. We will wait for the sun to rise in the New Year. Forgetting the successes and failures of the last 365 days, the 31st night will be observed to welcome 2020 in Cox's Bazar, the largest beach in the world.
However, unlike the last two years, no programmes will take place in open places in Cox's Bazar. Following tradition, though, Hotel Ocean Paradise, Sayeman Beach Resort, and Hotel The Cox Today will arrange indoor programmes which will be open only for their guests, foreign tourists and special guests.
ABM Masud, Cox's Bazar Superintendent of Police, said there will be no fireworks, use of crackers and any programme in an open place. Besides, the use of loudspeakers after midnight has been prohibited. Cox's Bazar district police have taken four-step security measures for the 31st night. Special security measures have been in place since Monday and will be in effect till January 1.
For the last one and a half decades, Cox's Bazar has been crowded every year with tourists looking to celebrate on the night of the 31st December. Tourism experts predict a few lakhs of people, including tourists and locals, to gather to witness the last sunset of the year at Cox's Bazar this year. However, they have termed this year's 31st night as "lifeless" since celebratory programmes have been clamped with a ban.
Md Kamal Hossain, Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar, said since 2017, when a large number of Rohingyas took shelter in Cox's Bazar, open programmes on the beach have been stopped in order to keep the law and order situation intact. However, tourists are allowed to walk along the beach till late at night. Some mobile court teams led by an executive magistrate will be there. All hotels have been told to keep their bars closed after 10 pm.
Executive Magistrate Musa Naser Chowdhury, who is in charge of the tourist cell of the district administration, said Hotel Ocean Paradise, Sayeman Beach Resort and Hotel The Cox Today have taken permission from the authorities to organise indoor programmes. They have been permitted to continue their programmes until 2 am.
Yar Muhammad, Member, Tour Operator Samiti, said Cox's Bazar has been getting crowded with tourists since before the 31st night, especially in the course of Christmas, Victory Day and winter vacations. Similar numbers of tourists are gathering at such tourist spots as the coral island of Saint Martin's, Teknaf, Shah Porir Island, Inani, Himchhari, Buddhist Palli in Ramu, Chakaria Dulahazara Bangabandhu Safari Park, Adinath of Maheshkhali and Sonadia. All these places have been decorated to attract tourists.
He predicts around four lakh tourists will gather this year. Around 400 hotels, motels and guest houses near the beach have been booked. It will continue until the first week of January.
Hotel Ocean Paradise Director Abdul Kader Mishu said, "For world-class tourism to flourish in the country, we try to entertain our guests by observing Bengali New Year, 31st night and other occasions from the beginning. This time, Parshi will perform in a cultural programme. There will be a DJ party also."
Imran Hossain, food and beverage manager at Sayeman Beach Resort, said, "We have arranged a programme for our guests. Singer Tahsan will perform there."
According to Nur Ahmed, Saint Martin Union Parishad chairman, "Around 7000-8000 tourists have descended on the island. Those who have not been able to get rooms in hotels have rented tents. They want to keep the night memorable by spending it on the beach."
Md Saiful Islam, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Teknaf, said the administration has taken necessary steps to ensure the safety of tourists.
"To strengthen security, we have also asked local representatives to remain alert," he added.