Published:  12:10 AM, 24 March 2020

Coronavirus hits Cox's Bazar tourism business

Coronavirus hits Cox's Bazar tourism business Cox's Bazar sea beach gives a deserted look after the local administration banned public gathering and tourist arrival there. -AA

As world-wide impact  of the attack of coronavirus continues , the hotel-motel as well as  tourism  business has been badly  affected in Cox's Bazar recently .

Tourism and hotel industry that thrived for more than half a century, has been affected on a large scale as hotels and motels in Cox's Bazar have become tourist-less buzzing of tourists and holiday-makers has been fallen owing to the cancellation of their hotel and motel booking in the wake of Corona Virus that has already been declared endemic by world Health organization (WHO) on 11th March.

In fear of large scale Corona attack many foreign tourists and expatriates have been cancelling their hotel booking now-a-days, for this the hotel and tourism business is going to sustain a huge financial loss owing to the dearth of tourists and holiday-makers in Cox's Bazar, the most expatriate-studded region in the country, While talking to many hotel and motel authorities opined, during this season every year, there had been heavy rush of expatriates, tourists, holiday-makers in Cox's Bazar.

Even advance booking was very hard here in hotels and motels. But this year, there has been scarcity of expatriates, tourists and holiday-makers in hotels and motels in Cox's Bazar town  areas on Friday and Saturday . The hotels were 80% booked up by expatriates, tourists and holiday-makers of both and abroad. There have been almost 300 hotels and motels, small and large, which are almost without tourists, expatriates and holiday-makers.

Those who are attached to this vital tourism and hotel business sectors opined, 5 to 6 lakh expatriate-tourists pay a visit to Bangladesh every year particularly December-January-March season (dry season) of whose a large number of tourists come form china.

Owing Corona Virus attack, arrival form China has been suspended. In expatriate-studded Cox's Bazar in Chittagong Division about 20-25 lakh are staying abroad, of whom at least 10-12 lakh have been staying in U.K. and other European Countries, Middle Eastern countries like K.S.A. Oman, Bahrain, Kwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. About 5-6 lakh are staying in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and New Zeeland. Several lakhs of Chittgong-based expatriates are living in America and Canada.

For the last two weeks, Chittgong-based expatriates arrival to Cox's Bazar has been fallen awfully, for which the hotels and motels have hardly 20-25% boarders.

Chattogram Metropo-litan Police (CMP) has banned all kinds of public gatherings along Patenga beach from Wednesday till further notice while district commissioners of the country's two popular beach towns of Cox's Bazar and Kuakata urged all to cancel their tour plans there in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The government on Tuesday ordered heightened measures at all ports and public hospitals to check the 'transportation and transmission of coronavirus' after its recent outbreak in China as there was no medicine yet to cure the disease.

The order came at an inter-ministerial meeting on the preparedness against the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan province of China, said officials, adding that Bangladesh was not going to impose any ban on travel to and from China at the moment.

The coronavirus-infected persons carry symptoms like fever, sneezing, coughing and breathing difficulties while the disease spreads from fishes and animals, including bat and rat, he said.

'We have already prepared a protocol to manage the coronavirus-infected patients in keeping with the interim guidance of the WHO [World Health Organisation],' said the minister, adding that there was neither any medicine to treat the infection nor any vaccine to prevent it.

He said that isolation was the first precaution as the disease spread very fast. Zahid said that over 100 persons had already died of coronavirus infection in China where 3,000 more people were detected positive while 5,000 more were suspected to be infected with the disease in the East Asian country after its outbreak last week.

It's yet to be done by everyone, but a few supershops in the port city are standing out by employing exemplary cautionary measures to protect against the possible spread of coronavirus, earning praise of customers.

As fear grips city dwellers about probable lockdown in the coming days, different supershops have been experiencing sudden buying spree over the last few days. In these trying times, these supershops have started taking measures like sanitising customers' hands and providing equipment to staff.

Khulshi Mart, the city's oldest super shop, located in a neighbourhood that houses foreign missions, schools, universities and a culturally diverse community, has already taken some pioneering steps in this regard.

Since last week, shop authorities have started mandatory screening of all its customers with hand held infrared thermometer and spraying them with hand sanitiser before entering store premises.While visiting the supershop yesterday, this correspondent saw two staffers taking on this duty while anothere was busy disinfecting trolley handlers.

Md Shaker Hossain, maintenance in charge of Mart Promoters Ltd, the company behind Khulshi Mart, said they are cleaning the premises and floors every two hours to keep the outlet disinfected and were discouraging customers who were found to have fever. Additionally, all store staff have been providedwith hand gloves and masks, with mandatory hand sanitising during each entry and exit to go with it, he said.

Similar cautionary steps have been taken across all 10 outlets of K-Bakery, a sister concern of Khulshi Mart, he added. Nusrat Jahan, a resident of the area, who came to Khulshi Mart for some grocery items said the measures are praiseworthy.

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