International hotels in Dhaka are facing cancellation of bookings amid concerns over the spread of the deadly virus, which has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives
If the city is on fire, the temple in it cannot remain safe. So is the case with the hospitality business of Bangladesh, which has shown signs of slowdown as coronavirus spread in China casts a long shadow on the overall economy.
The dwindling number of international tourists checking in hotels during this peak season spanning January and February and a good number of international expositions being postponed bear out adequately the prevailing situation.
International hotels in Dhaka are facing cancellation of bookings amid concerns over the spread of the deadly virus, which has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives.
Officials say that the number of not only Chinese tourists, but also those from other countries visiting Bangladesh fell significantly between January and February, causing the hotel business to fall by 40% to 45% following the outbreak.
Upmarket five-star Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Le Meridien, The Westin, Intercontinental Hotel Dhaka and Radisson Blu along with the medium-range hotels are facing booking cancellations.
Janealam Shawon, director (revenue management) of The Westin, talking to Dhaka Tribune last week, said: “Our business is experiencing downtrend since the coronavirus outbreak in China. The decline is already 35%. We fear it may go up to 40%.”
Sakerina Khaled, marketing and communication manager of Le Meridien, said: “Some events scheduled to be held in Dhaka have already been cancelled, leading to the cancellation of many of our bookings.”
“Annually, around 40% of guests are from China. The bookings have been on the decline for the last two months," she informed.
Musharrat Hasan Promi, assistant manager (customer relations and PR) of Pan Pacific Sonargaon, said, “Suspension of on arrival visa for Chinese citizens for an indefinite period has prompted our Chinese guests to cancel booking while some guests have shifted their bookings."
“We have had almost no new bookings these days,” she added.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, a high official of Radisson Blu Dhaka said that besides the businesspeople, the number of tourists from China also fell and this trend might continue till April.
Meanwhile, more than half a dozen international expositions to be held in Bangladesh have been postponed following the coronavirus outbreak in China.
This also has negatively affected Bangladesh’s hotel business, sector people have said.
Bangladesh Plastic, Packaging and Printing Industrial Fair 2020, which was scheduled to take place between February 12 and 15 at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB), has been postponed.
Besides, Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association (BTMA) put off the 17th Dhaka International Textile and Garments Machinery Exhibition (DTG) 2020, which was originally scheduled to be held between February 20 and 23 at the ICCB. The international exposition has also been postponed.
The event organizers said about 3,000 international guests were expected to arrive in the country from different countries. Most of them are Chinese citizens. The date of the exposition was postponed because they were unable to come for the virus.
The coronavirus outbreak surfaced in December last year. The World Health Organization declared it an international health emergency on January 30.
Deaths from the coronavirus in mainland China hit 2,360 as of Saturday although the number of new cases fell, as authorities tightened already severe containment measures in the worst-hit city of Wuhan.