Hotels and resorts in Bangladesh’s tourist destinations are seeing buoyant activity thanks to long holidays granted by most industries during the current festival season centered on Eid-ul-Fitr as they seek to partially recover the pandemic-induced losses.
Industry folks say the busiest days were the first four days after Eid Day on May 3, and they expect good deals in the days ahead. As a result, occupancy rates topped 90% at most hotels and resorts during the holidays, despite this being off-season.
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In Bangladesh, winter is the peak tourist season, starting in November and ending in mid-April.
“Demand for room bookings was immense from May 4-7 as holidaymakers flocked to the seaside town of Cox’s Bazar to celebrate Eid,” said Abdul Kaium Chowdhury, general manager of The Cox Today hotel. .
The 270-room The Cox Today hotel was 90 per cent occupied in the first four days after Eid.
“However, demand will fall from tomorrow [today]“, he told the Daily Star.
“It’s low season for Cox’s Bazar, but business has still been great,” said Chowdhury, who is general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar Hotel-Motel Owners Association.
Cox’s Bazar, the country’s premier resort with around 500 hotels, motels and resorts and 2,000 food outlets, has attracted many visitors.
Rashed Mahmud, general manager of Grace Cox Smart Hotel, said his hotel was 100% occupied in the first four days after Eid.
There are 70 rooms in the hotel and about 50% of them were booked even on Eid day.
“With this type of customer response, it can be inferred that the whole month of May, especially during the holidays, will see good business as many have already started making reservations,” Mahmud added.
Beach resorts in other parts of the county also welcomed good numbers of tourists amid the Eid festivities.
The Palace Luxury Resort, built on 150 acres of land with 100 rooms and 32 villas in a remote village in Habiganj district, was nearly full during the Eid holiday.
“Compared to festival seasons in the last two years of the pandemic, our business has been good,” said Joseph Gomes, the station’s general manager.
“We are now in the recovery phase of the pandemic and the pace of recovery is quite fast,” he added.
Md Abdullah Al Kafi, general manager of Meghmati Village Resort in Mymensingh, said the extended Eid holiday this year has boosted domestic tourism.
Occupancy was close to 100% at the village-concept resort, which also markets organic food.
“We identified a different trend this year, which is that many guests came to our resort on the morning of Eid day,” he said.
Kafi went on to say that the pandemic has blocked domestic tourism for the past two years, but people have rediscovered the beauty of Bangladesh this time around.
Pradip Sanyal, Executive Director of Bhawal Resort and Spa in Gazipur, said 90% of their rooms were booked in recent days for the Eid festival.
Md Jahirul Islam, Operations Manager (Head) of Mermaid Beach Resort, said that the activities this Eid season have met 80% of their expectations.
Nitai Chandra Sutradhar, finance and accounts manager of Nokkhottrobari Resort in Gazipur, said 22 rooms had been booked out of 29 available on May 4, 5 and 6.
But despite the influx of tourists, hotel and resort owners continue to suffer pandemic-induced losses.
Chowdhury of The Cox Today hotel said losses during the pandemic will take several years to recover.
“The cases we’ve lost in the past two years may never be covered,” he added.
Islam of Mermaid Beach Resort said it has put aside all the setbacks of the pandemic and is approaching the current year in a positive light.
“There are no more Covid-19 related restrictions this year and I have to say that business has been quite successful as a result. We see this year as the year of transition and next year as the year business,” he added. .
According to the Bangladesh Outbound Tour Operators Association, more than five lakh people could visit India during the Eid holiday this time around. Also, many are expected to travel to the Maldives, Thailand, Nepal and Dubai.
According to a recent survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), India is the top choice for Bangladeshis to travel abroad, followed by Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Thailand.
“We have seen that a good number of tourists have gone out of the country during this Eid, especially to countries that have provided visas and improved facilities for the new normal,” said Kamrul Islam, Managing Director (Public Relations ) from US-Bangla Airlines. .
According to him, the main tourist destinations were Calcutta, Kathmandu, the Maldives and Dubai.