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27 May 2022

Business Insider Bangladesh

Fresh Covid wave hits hospitality sector as events, bookings get postponed

BI Report || BusinessInsider

Published: 21:27, 19 January 2022   Update: 22:00, 19 January 2022
Fresh Covid wave hits hospitality sector as events, bookings get postponed

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The latest wave of coronavirus cases is taking a heavy toll on the business of hotels, resorts and event management firms.

Industry insiders say they are witnessing cancellation of bookings and rescheduling of events in recent days amid the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases across the country.

Iqbal Mohsin, general manager of Sea Crown Hotel in Cox’s Bazar, said the occupancy rate has come down to 30 to 35 percent due to the coronavirus fear.

“Bookings for January month are being cancelled every day causing a great concern for our business,” Mohsin told the Business Insider Bangladesh on Wednesday.

James Babu Hazra of Pebble Stone Sea Resort (Pvt) Ltd in Cox’s Bazar told the Business Insider Bangladesh that 50 percent of all types of bookings—including room and events—were cancelled for the outbreak of coronavirus variant Omicron.

Some of the event bookings are being rescheduled as well, he added. 

This is not the case for Cox’s Bazar only. The same situation prevails across the country—in hotels and resorts in and around Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong Hill Tracts. Major events in Dhaka are being postponed or cancelled amid the spread of the virus.

CEMS Global, one of the largest event management firms in the country, was scheduled to organise the Dhaka Motor Show in March. But the event has been rescheduled to April. Yet, uncertainty is there.

Many more events, including annual picnics, for which Jan-Feb is the high time, have been cancelled.

For example, the Economic Reporters’ Forum, a platform of around 300 members, was scheduled to organise its annual picnic at a spot in Birulia, Savar on Friday (Jan 21). But that programme has been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

Airlines have also seen a significant reduction in passengers in recent days.

“December was a very good time for us. The first week of January has also been okay. But a lot of passengers have cancelled their trips from the second week of January and onwards,” said an official of NovoAir, a local operator.

Yet, people engaged in the tourism sector do not want to lose their hope.

Syed Habib Ali, chairman of Tourism Developers Association of Bangladesh, said domestic tourism is still going on and people who did not go out for months now want to go and roam inside the country, if not abroad.

“But the government’s initiatives, such as showing vaccine certificates even for dining in a restaurant, are hurting us,” Ali told the Business Insider Bangladesh.


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