The Financial Express

Tourists start flocking Sylhet spots ignoring Covid-19 restrictions

Tourism sector in Sylhet incurs Tk 35b loss

| Updated: October 20, 2020 18:10:28

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
- Collected/UNB - Collected/UNB

SYLHET: Visitors in good numbers started gathering the tourist spots in Sylhet region while there is none to see the health related restrictions over Covid-19.

Almost all the visitors were found without face masks moving freely. Things are about normal after 6 months, said a number of locals and traders.

Tourism sector people in the greater Sylhet region said the loss due to the Covid 19- crisis in 6 months has been estimated at taka 35 billion (3500 crore). Although there were a good number of tourists on the spots during the two Eid vacations, the overall situation didn't improve that much.

Though the tourist spots including Cox's bazaar were reopened on August 17, there had been no specific notification about the spots in Sylhet region. The industry sources said amid a rising trend, there are over 5,000 hotels, motels, guest houses, rest houses, resorts etc in the region while the number of vehicles used by the visitors is about 2500. Several thousand people turned jobless since the imposition of lockdown March 6.

The tourist spots include, Jafflong, Bisnakandi, Bholaganj, Sadapathor, Ratargul, Lalakhal, Pantumai, etc in Sylhet, Madhabkunda, Lawachhara forest, Baikka Bil, Tea Research Institute, Hamham waterfall in Moulvibazar, Satchhari national forest, Rema-Kalenga forest, Rubber plantation etc in Habiganj and Shimulbagan, Tanguar Haor, Niladri Lake, etc in Sunamganj district.

President of Sylhet Chamber of Commerce & Industry ATM Shoeb told this correspondent visitors are there on the spots although the government restrictions are yet to be cleared officially. Still the hotel accommodations are still below break even.

Sylhet Hotel & Guest House Owners Association President Khondaker Shipar Ahemd said in recent years there has been a rise in hotels and guesthouses in the region. On weekends almost all the hotels remained fully booked, but the situation is totally different after the Covid 19 pandemic. Yet the occupancy is beolw 30 per cent.

Like others, some 6 members of private firm employee Atiqur Rahman's family from Moulvibazar were seen at the Malnichhera Tea Garden. They had been out an hour after months. But, we couldn't guess such a rush this time, said the man.

Manager of a hotel in the city said the situation started improving after we had lost the Eids. We can't guess the future, he said. Many of the visitors now avoid staying at hotels rather they prefer returning home after day long visits.

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