The impact of COVID-19 in tourism and hospitality industry of Bangladesh

Abir Hasan | Published: 20:45, May 13,2020


Empty Cox's Bazar sea beach because of the COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19, a variant of novel corona virus, is the most buzzed word in the whole world these days. Almost all business sector of the world is facing an array of complexities created by this crisis. The situation is not positive for Bangladesh as well.

To begin with, tourism industry does not deal only with the travel destinations, but it is connected with many other entities directly or indirectly. For example, the transportation systems airlines, bus companies, cruise ships and accommodation facilities like hotel, motel, home stay and other tourism service provider like travel agency or tour operator all of these are connected with this industry. The COVID-19 situation has more or less halted all of these mentioned sectors’ businesses.

Because of the COVID-19 issues the whole world is halted for the last few months. There are no wars going on but the whole world is maintaining emergency lockdown situation. For the national safety issue, traveling from one country to another is completely prohibited. Almost all of the countries of the world are shut down, every domestic and international flight has been cancelled as well as every medium of public transportations. The result of this cancellation is directly impacting the travel and tourism sectors across the world. Almost all of the hotels, motels and resorts are totally vacant.

In perspective of Bangladesh, we have 12-15 international chain five-star hotels. Besides we have more than 600 three and two star rated hotels and motels and many small hotels and home stays are providing service in every corner of Bangladesh who are not in the list. These services are providing livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people.

According to Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Bangladesh chapter, till May, 2020, the world will face a loss of USD 97.05 billion in the tourism sector alone. Tourism experts assume if the lockdown situation continues like this, Bangladesh will have to face economic loss of more than Tk three billion. Research shows that half a million of people who are directly or indirectly employed in the tourism and hospitality industry, are in the risk of losing their jobs.

As the whole country is in lockdown situation, the number of national as well as international tourist is zero. Normally more people tend to go for traveling during summer so it is the most coveted season for traveling in the tourist destinations of Bangladesh. In normal situation it’s difficult to get the room booked, but now the situation is totally opposite.

The Bangladesh flag carrier Biman Bangladesh airlines, cancelled all of their flight till the middle of this year. Including Bangladesh Biman other airlines companies who doing aviation business are undergoing serious economic lose. Some report declared that we might have to wait till 2023 for going back normal situation for the aviation sector.

To sum up, tourism industry of Bangladesh as well as the whole world is going to face a big disaster and this disastrous situation will continue till the COVID-19 situation normalises. 

To overcome this situation, the entire tourism sector and the policy makers should go through proper management and planning to restart their activities.

Abir Hasan studies tourism and hospitality management at the University of Dhaka.

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