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Sundarbans, Dhaka zoo, safari parks reopening today

Published : 31 Oct 2020 09:40 PM | Updated : 01 Nov 2020 05:11 AM

Despite nonessential travel is still being discouraged amid apprehension of the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, many key tourism attractions are reopening their doors to travelers from today (November 1). 

People who love to visit tourist spots are stuck within the four walls of the house as tourism came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The conditional reopening of the tourist spots may help travelers heave a sigh of relief. 

The tourism destinations are beginning to welcome back tourists after seven months of closure prior to beginning of the tourist season in Bangladesh in order to help the struggling travel industry and demand of travelers. 

The tourist spots, including the Sundarbans, national zoo and safari parks in Gazipur and Cox’s Bazar and Satchari National Park, are reopening for public on conditions over maintaining health guidelines and social distance.

All the tourist attractions in the country were shut down in March this year to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus. 

Earlier, some other tourism spots, including Cox’s Bazar sea beach and the tourist spots in and around Chattogram city, reopened for the travelers in the last week of August this year on 16 conditions. Sajek Valley, an emerging tourist spot situated in Rangamati, and some other tourism spots reopened from September this year in order to boost tourism amid the Covid-19 pandemic

The Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set to reopen for tourists today (November 1) following a seven-month closure. The decision of the Forest Department in this regard was informed to the department at Khulna, Bagerhat, Mongla and Satkhira. 

Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, Chief Conservator of Forests of the Forest Department, told the media that they have decided to reopen the Sundarbans complying with health guidelines. A limited number of tourists will be allowed to visit there, he added. 

A meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry was held on October 19, discussing the ways to reopen the Sundarbans for tourists ahead of the upcoming tourist season.

The Forest Department on March 19 announced a temporary ban on tourists’ movement and boat plying all over the Sundarbans to check the spread of coronavirus.

According to the Forest Department, over 45,000 travelers visit nine tourist areas in the Sundarbans every day during the tourist season from November to March.

According to the decision, the tour operators, however, won’t be allowed to carry more than 50 tourists at a time. Meanwhile, the tour operators have already started pre-booking spots for their Sundarbans tours.

Moinul Islam Jamaddar, president of Tour Operators Association of the Sundarbans, welcomed the decision of the government. He said that that many employees of around 50 ships owned by 70 Sundarbans-based tour companies have remained unemployed for months following Covid-19 outbreak. They have been facing an extreme financial crisis.

Bangladesh National Zoo at Mirpur in Dhaka is also set to reopen for visitors from today. The zoo will be open for visitors from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, while facemasks and social distancing are mandatory during visit there. 

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock made the announcement recently. The Department of Livestock Services set up 10 conditions to enter the national zoo. 

According to the decision, up to 2,000 visitors would be allowed to visit the zoo every day. On the other hand, only 200 people can visit the museum in the zoo in the morning, while 300 others in the afternoon. However, 3,000 to 4,0000 people visit the museum in normal time. 

Dr Md Abdul Latif, curator of the national zoo, said all the health safety rules for Covid-19 must be maintained during the visit at the zoo to prevent infection. “We have already set up some wash basins to wash hands, and will spray disinfectant at the entrance,” he added.

It was known that disinfection tunnel was set up in front of entry point of the zoo. Thermal scanners will be used to detect people with a high temperature. 

However, online ticket system was introduced at the zoo. Visitors must collect entry tickets from The price of ticket has not been  increased. However, the visitors will have to pay extra 4 percent as service charge.  

The national zoo was shut down on March 20, two days after the first Covid-19 death was reported in Bangladesh.

Like many other recreation centres, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park in Gazipur, which was closed on March 20, is also going to reopen for tourists from today.

Assistant Forest Conservator, Tabibur Rahman who is also Officer-in-Charge of the safari park, said the park would be reopened following proper health guidelines. “The decision to reopen tourist spots, safari parks, national parks, botanical gardens, aviary parks, sanctuary centres, and eco-parks under the Forest Department has also been taken,” he said.

Like the safari park of Gazipur, the gates of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park at Dulahazara in Cox’s Bazar, the first government safari park in the country, is also reopening for travelers from today.

Meanwhile, despite the closure of all kinds of visitors inside the park for more than seven months, the safari park has been a great success in breeding various wild animals and birds. A number of newborn wild animals and birds of rare species have come to safari park. The newborn animals and birds will add a new dimension of joy for tourists and visitors to the park, said the park authorities. 

The temporary ban on tourist movement at Satchari National Park at Chunarughat upazila in Habiganj is also being lifted from today. Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Chuanarughat Sotyajit Das confirmed the matter.