Jul 12, 2016

    Tourism takes a hit in Bangladesh after terror attacks


    HOSPITALITY and tourism sectors are taking the heat of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, with foreigners cancelling scheduled trips to the country.

    On July 1, militants stormed an upscale restaurant in the capital's diplomatic zone, killing 20 diners, mostly foreigners.

    Many foreigners who had plans to visit Dhaka for leisure or business in coming months have cancelled bookings.

    The luxury hotels in Dhaka and tourist attractions are witnessing a similar fate despite beefed-up security measures.

    The biggest example is the cancellation of an international event on telecommunication, scheduled to be held in Dhaka from Sept 29 to Oct 6.

    About 450 foreign nationals were supposed to attend the event, which has now been shifted to Thailand.

    The Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh had booked 150 rooms and three conference halls at Amari Dhaka.

    The organiser also booked 450 rooms and four conference halls at Le Meridien Dhaka.

    "We cancelled all the bookings by e-mail last Friday," Ma Hakim, president of the association said.

    Tour operators and hospitality service providers said the attack has dimmed prospects of a rebound in inbound tourism from its slump in 2013.

    Inbound tourism started to recover from a battering following the murders of Japanese and Italian nationals in September last year, said Faridul Haque, managing director of Tour Planners.

    A senior official of an international hotel chain in Dhaka said business prospects for August would depend largely on the law and order situation in the next two to three weeks.

    Masud Hossain, chief executive of Bengal Tours, said some 300 bookings have been cancelled since the July 1 attack.

    Some 200 fans of the England cricket team had signed up with Bengal Tours for their tour of Bangladesh later this year. "They informed us that they would not come," he added.