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29 December, 2021 11:56:56 PM
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Stop tourist harassment

Some hotel and motel business owners in the tourist places are doing syndicate business. The allegations are so frequent from the visitors that the food fare is 20 to 50 times higher in the adjacent restaurants than usually it should be.
Alaul Alam
Stop tourist harassment

Bangladesh is blessed with many attractive tourist places. Certainly, the country situated in South Asia has endowed with an immense treasure of natural beauty and relics of old and middle ages. The natural treasures such as beaches, lakes, rivers, hills, forests, wildlife, tribal life, archaeological remains, historical monuments, religious and cultural heritages, handicrafts have great value for tourist attractions.

Every year a huge number of tourists from home and abroad visit the country. It is estimated that the country was visited by 0.3 million foreign tourists in 2019. Along with this, around 90 lakh domestic tourists travel across the country each year. But in all the tourist places across the country the visitors are exploited in many ways.

According to some sources, some tourist places are not safe for the sight-seers. On top of that, tourist harassment has been very common to notice. Mismanagement in the tourist sector has been very obvious over the years. It is commonly noticed that people associated with tourist centres are involved in many mismanagement and harassing the visitors in many ways.

Some hotel and motel business owners in the tourist places are doing syndicate business. The allegations are so frequent from the visitors that the food fare is 20 to 50 times higher in the adjacent restaurants than usually it should be. Not only that, food quality of many restaurants is not satisfactory and in most cases the visitors are being cheated.

The transport facilities the visitors are compelled to take are highly expensive. Throughout the year some local syndicates remain busy to trap the visitors and they create artificial shortage of foods and accommodation. It is so frustrating that even the rickshaw pullers, taxi drivers or food suppliers, all have ill-intention to deceive the visitors in the tourist places.

This month ahead of victory day we saw that thousands of local and foreign tourists swarming to Kuakata and Cox’s Bazar beaches to enjoy their holidays. Similarly, the Haor areas of Kishoreganj and Moulvibazar, entertainment parks in Savar and Narsingdi, and the resorts in Gazipur were full of tourists. It was alleged that hotels, motels and transport fares were doubled amid the huge rush of visitors. Not only that, easy-bike, rickshaw pullers and restaurant owners were charging more from the tourists, which have been admitted by Abul Qasim, general secretary of Cox's Bazar Hotel and Motel Owners' Association.

Again we knew from online media that a plate of rice with mashed potato and lentil was priced to 350 to 500 TK nearby Cox’s Bazar Sea beach. Many visitors were unable to accommodate in highly expensive guest rooms and took shelter in the open place on the beach. Things get so frustrating when we see that girls and women do not have their security to enjoy the tourist places. In the most recent time, one of the most shocking news has made huge criticism among the people.

It has been exposed in different media outlets that a couple with their eight-month old child from Dhaka went to Cox’s Bazar for sightseeing. Intentionally, a few local culprits made an altercation with them at Laboni Beach. They targeted the women and in a few hours later some men picked up the husband and the child in an auto-rickshaw. On the other hand, three others took the woman to a secluded place and raped her. 

Again they took the woman to Zia Guest Inn and after taking yaba tablet they raped her there. It is alleged that the victim sought help from the police but they advised the woman to go to the police station to file a general diary. However, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) rescued the victim. This incident shocked the nation. The scenario corresponds that girls and women hardly have their safety in the world famous Cox’s Bazar tourist place.

Many claim that the mismanagement in the tourist places in the country are advantaging the culprits to commit such heinous crimes frequently. However, this raping incident will fade the image of our tourist places and the people will obviously think thousand times before visiting any tourist place in the country taking with their family.

Sources say that 1.5 to 1.6 million Bangladeshi tourists visit to other countries each year. Certainly, the number of tourists visiting other countries will be much more unless quality tourist facilities and safety are ensured at every tourist place.

However, the nation demands the quick arrest of the culprits and the confirmation of the exemplary punishment for the perpetrators in no time. Again, it is very urgent to restore the image of the world famous sea beach to combat all sorts of tourist harassment without any delay.

Tourism sector in Bangladesh has unlocked many possibilities over the years. According to the BBS's Tourism Satellite Account 2020, the contribution of tourism to our gross domestic product is estimated at 3.02 per cent. As per the report of 2018, this sector contributed 3.09 per cent of the total employment in the country. But it is evident that tourism industry has been yet to hold its desirous position in the arena of global tourism. As of report 2019, the country stood 120th out of 140 countries in regard to the prospect of tourism.

But the question is: what are the factors for which the country’s tourism has left behind from many countries grown significantly with tourism? Many may argue that the main challenges are the lack of tourist friendly infrastructures and communication facilities. It is true that many tourist centres in the country still lack adequate infrastructure facilities, good communication and tourists’ overall security.

However, it is appreciative that positive growth tendency in the tourism industry is being witnessed. The present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a good number of initiatives which work for modernization of the country’s tourism –a journey to boost up our economy through developing tourism. Along with government initiatives, young and innovative entrepreneurs are setting up hotels and motels in the country to help the tourism sector.

Certainly, all these initiatives help flourish tourism of our country. We see that the number of tourists over the years has increased significantly which contributes to our GDP. But the most important thing is to take strict actions against any mismanagement in this sector. It is very urgent to provide the tourists a secured atmosphere to grow this sector sustainably. To ensure this there is no alternative to keeping the tourist places free from all kinds of harassments.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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