Tourism is a growing industry in Bangladesh. It generated 1, 25,000 international tourists in 2014 and international tourism generated US$ 1.5 trillion in export earnings and international tourist arrivals grew by 4.3% in 2014 to 1.133 billion. According to WTTC direct employment support by travel and tourism is forecast to rise by 2.9 percent per annum to 1,785,000 jobs or 1.9 percent of total employment in 2023.
But the recent terrorist attack in Gulshan on July 1, 2016 has changed the scenario completely. Terrorism has shaken the hospitality and tourism industry of both developed and developing countries. We know, terrorism is a daunting problem in today’s world and Bangladesh is facing this risk and vulnerabilities created by terrorism become a threat to national security. Terrorism affects people socially, culturally, politically and economically. After this incident, tourism industry and hospitality industry are facing many challenges.
Service sector including hotels, beauty parlors and restaurant business, has been affected badly as people are terrified to go to these places after the recent terror attacks in the country.
Many foreigners who had plans to visit Dhaka for leisure and business purposes have changed their plans and cancelled bookings for few months. Many big events like conferences have been postponed or shifted to neighboring countries. So, hotel industry faced a lot of cancellations and vacant room as the foreigners were in hurry to check out the hotel and leave the country. The fear and security issues caused huge loss to the hotel industry.
Tour operators apprehend militant attacks a barrier to the government’s plan to attract more visitors in the country. 15 first-row tour operators said after the recent attacks foreign tourists have started calling off visits in the country.
The tour operators and travel agencies who basically make travel packages for international travelers from Europe, America and Japan.
The tourism sector lost around Taka 2,000 crore due to cancellations of planned tours by foreign travelers amid the drawn-out political violence, according to Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) earlier this year.
In the circumstances, Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) demanded positive campaigning about tourism sector in the country both in home and abroad. Tourism board and tour operators would take initiative for ensuring security for the tourists. People should come together and eliminate terrorism so that hotel and tourism industry is protected. The security system at places of tourist importance and prominent star hotels are made full proof to the extent that tourists feel safe and secure. Branding of Bangladesh as a tourist destination is needed to offset the ravages. So, government should take some initiatives to get rid of the fear from peoples’ mind and welcome foreigners to “Beautiful Bangladesh”.