Bangladesh opens up to foreign tourists after pandemic pause

The tourism authorities adopted a “recovery plan” to help the sector recover from the pandemic-induced losses

Published : 26 Sept 2022, 02:29 PM
Updated : 26 Sept 2022, 02:29 PM

Bangladesh has lifted restrictions on tourism in the country for the first time in over two years following the decline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali made it official in a discussion at the Parjatan Bhaban in Agargaon on Monday.

The government made the move on the counsel of the national COVID technical committee, he said.

Bangladesh stopped issuing visas for tourists after coronavirus broke out two years ago. Although authorities gradually began allowing visitors of other classes with the drop in COVID cases and fatalities, tourism visas were not issued until now.

The tourism sector sustained heavy losses amid the pandemic. The government is taking a slew of measures to make up for the losses and ensure the sustainable development of the industry.

According to a study published in April by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, the hospitality and tourism sector suffered losses of Tk 600 billion in 2020 alone.

BIDS also estimated that businesses let go of 140,000 employees to cut expenditure amid the pandemic with restaurants and transport agencies accounting for more than 90 percent of the dismissals.

No official figures on the losses or job cuts are available for the year 2022.

Mahbub said the Bangladesh Tourism Board has undertaken a “recovery plan” including guidelines to help the industry make a turnaround.