Country’s domestic tourism is likely to get a big boost during the Eid holidays as a large portion of vacationers is preparing to explore local spots instead of going abroad this year due to the rise in the price of dollar as well as airfare.
Hoteliers have also observed the changing trend of the tourists, saying they are ready to host all travellers and offer them a memorable experience.
Usually people purchase dollar from the open market before travelling abroad, but the price of greenback has increased to Tk 110 against taka. Besides, the additional cost of the airfare has made things tough for the outbound tourists this year.
Sayma Ferdous of Lalmatia in the capital and three of her family members wanted to go to Darjeeling in India this Eid but they have changed their plan and instead decided to spend the vacation at an eco-resort in Sreemangal.
Asked about the reason for changing their plan, Sayma said they needed to readjust the holidays and after rescheduling the plan, they have found that the amount of their expenditure for the trip has increased much.
“The rise in the price of dollar and airfare has affected our plan. We couldn’t afford a further increase in expenditure. Therefore, we’ve chosen an eco-resort to pass the Eid vacation together. Hopefully, we’ll have much fun there,” she added.
Tourism sector insiders have also said the high price of dollar and air tickets has reduced the number of outbound holidaymakers this year.
“We used to sell about 70 percent of the outbound tickets to tourists before the Eid season. But people’s interest in travelling abroad is less this year due to the rise in the price of dollar and airfare,” Ishtiaque Ahmed, director of Camair Travels Ltd at Karwanbazar in the capital, said.
He also said the price of airfare on the Kolkata-Dhaka route has increased to Tk 18,000-20,000 from Tk 14,000 while that on the Dhaka-Bangkok route to Tk 50,000-60,000 from Tk 33,000-Tk 34,000.
Tour operators, travel agents and hoteliers are well aware of the situation. They know the number of local trips will increase this Eid.
According to the Tourist Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), around 10-12 lakh people will visit different popular tourist spots in the country this year during the Eid holidays.
Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Sylhet, Sreemangal, Saint Martin’s Island, Kuakata and the Sundarbans are at the top of the list of tourist destinations this year.
“The trend of going abroad on Eid holidays has declined this year. Instead, the pressure of tourists at different tourist spots in the country is quite high. We’ve also taken all preparations to serve the holidaymakers as per their demands,” TOAB President Shiblul Azam Koreshi said.
Officials at Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla Airlines, Novoair and AirAstra also confirmed that most of their tickets for Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet for the last week of April have been booked by the holidaymakers.
Like previous years, Cox’s Bazar still remains the most popular tourist destination inside the country. With over 450 hotels, motels and cottages, the beach town can host over 200,000 tourists at once.
President of Cox’s Bazar Hotel-Motel, Guesthouse Owners’ Association Abul Kashem Sikder said they are expecting around one million guests this Eid.
“The guests will start coming to Cox’s Bazar a day after Eid. We’ve redecorated our hotels in the dull business season in Ramadan. Many of us have come up with offers of 20-40 percent discount on the rent,” he said.
A good number of tourists have chosen the hilly and forest areas of Sylhet, Bandarban and Rangamati to pass the Eid holidays. Therefore, hotels, motels, cottages and resorts in the areas have prepared to welcome Eid guests.
Managing Director of Shuktara Nature Retreat located in Sylhet’s Khadimnagar, MH Murad, said, “The holidaymakers who are more interested to spend the Eid vacation in a calm and quiet environment with their family and friends are choosing the Sylhet region. Over 75 percent of our rooms have been booked in advance by them. We’re waiting to serve them.”