Country’s hotel and hospitality sector has got a boost with business picking up to the level of pre-pandemic period, following the Covid-19 has been contained and life has returned to normalcy, stakeholders opined.
Meanwhile, the hotel and tourism sector in Bangladesh incurred losses worth Tk 6,000 crore in 2020 following the spread of Covid-19, reveals a study by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
The study was carried out by reviewing the existing literature and collecting primary and secondary information to find out the contribution of the sector to the economy as well as to comprehend the possible impacts of Covid-19 on the sector.
The BIDS study also finds that most of the entrepreneurs in the sub-sectors realized that the current state of the business is untenable in the medium term as consumers’ tastes and preferences changed over time and hence need major overhauling in terms of infrastructures and services with skilled human resources.
The study noted that even though the government initially allocated Tk 121,400 crore as fiscal stimulus and liquidity support, the hospitality sector was deprived of such support.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget in parliament early this month proposed that the tourism industry will get an incentive package amounting to TK1,000 crore to overcome the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government had taken steps to set up Sabrang Tourism Park, Naf Tourism Park and Sonadia Eco-Tourism Park in Cox’s Bazar with accommodation and recreational facilities maintaining international standards, he said.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam recently called for a visa-free travel facility for students in the BBIN countries, as the country plans to become illiteracy-free by 2041.
"Let us open up the doors of the countries for students," he said.
Shahidus Sadeque, director for marketing and business promotion of InterContinental Dhaka, recently said restaurant business of the hotel has been running well and reached the pre-pandemic period.
However, the occupancy of guest rooms is slightly slow compared to the pre-pandemic period. With the gradual rise in international traveling, the guest room occupancy will rise in the coming days, said Shahidus Sadeque, who has vast nearly 20 years in the hospitality industry.
To a question of potentials about the tourism sector in Bangladesh Nishan Moonesinghe, a Sri Lankan citizen who has vast experience in the hospitality sector in different sectors said “Firstly, I feel that the industry should get more support from the government to reduce the red tape and bureaucracy involved in getting licenses and revise taxation to help optimize on all revenue generating streams to help rebuild the industry which struggled in the last two years due to the covid pandemic.”
Nishan Moonesinghe, General Manager of Royal Park Residence Hotel, while talking to this Correspondent highlighted on the potentials of the hospitality sector.
In the last 10 years the country has witnessed opening of pose hotels including Five-Star hotels like Radisson Blu Water Hotel at Chittagong, Holiday Inn at Tejgaon, DuSai Resort & Spa in Maulvi Bazar, The Peninsula Chittagong, Amari Dhaka, Long Beach Suites Dhaka, Le Meridien Dhaka, Six Seasons Hotel in Dhaka, Four Points by Sheraton in Dhaka, Rose View Hotel, Hotel Valley Garden and Nazimgarh Garden Resort in Sylhet, Long Beach Hotel at Cox Bazar, Grand Sultan Tea Resort & Golfin at Maulvi Bazar showing that Bangladesh is becoming a success story in the hospitably industry. During this time, The Westin, Radission Blu Water Garden, Amari, Six Season, Four Points Sheraton, Le Meridien, Sarina and Regency have been opened for the guests.