The whole world is plagued and infected with the coronavirus today. Human life has come to a standstill due to this deadly virus. As a result, not only the normal life of the people but also the social, economic and political system of the country has been greatly affected. The tourism industry has collapsed. Those involved in the tourism industry are facing this loss.
In December 2019, the first coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China. Tourist centers have suffered the most from the effects of the coronavirus, which quickly spread to most countries in the world. All the world’s tourism industries were shut down after travel was banned from one country to another.
After the first corona outbreak in Bangladesh was identified on March 6, 2020 and its rapid increase in impact, the government declared a general holiday from March 26, 2020 to May 30, 2020 and all tourist centers, hotels, motels, restaurants, leisure centers, waterways in the country. , Roads, railways and airplanes were declared closed. As a result, all classes of people involved in the tourism industry have to face losses. The 4 million workers involved in this industry have become unemployed and more than one and a half crore people dependent on them are plunged into deep uncertainty.
The beginning of 2020 was a good time for tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization, In January 2020, the number of tourists was 2 percent more than last year. However, the corona virus caused a massive downward trend in February and March.
According to the report, tourist arrivals in February were 9 percent lower than last year and 56 percent lower in March. As a result, Asia and the Pacific region suffered the most.
Tourism contributed 2.9 trillion to the world economy’s GDP in 2019, accounting for 11 percent of total GDP. Corona has so far cost the tourism sector 2.1 trillion. In 2019, the number of tourists in the world was 1.5 billion. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) estimates that the number of tourists will increase by another 4 to 5 percent that year. But coronavirus has reduced its rate. As a result of the loss of about 400 million, the impact is going to be huge in the future.
Even if the effects of the coronavirus is about to go, it will take some time for the earth to return to its former state. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during the Corona outbreak, with people running out of savings, limited livelihoods, and reduced health risks. So even if the Corona effect is gone, it may take another two to three years for the tourism industry to regain its former momentum. Countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Americas, Spain, Italy, and France have been hit hard by the corona.
The tourism industry of Bangladesh is an emerging industry. The industry has made great strides in recent years. But the coronavirus has now caused the collapse of the industry. All types of tourist centers, hotels, motels and restaurants in the country have been closed for a long time and this industry is facing huge losses. The contribution of tourism to the GDP of Bangladesh is about 3 percent. According to a study in the Bangladesh chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), a total of Tk. 9,605 crore was lost in the overall tourism industry in the five months from January to May, 2020 and about 3,09,500 people are in danger of losing their jobs. About Tk. 2,000 crore in hotels, various resorts and restaurants and about 250,000 unemployed, Tk. 3,000 crore in travel agencies and about 15,000 unemployed, Tk. 4,050 crore in tour operations (Inbound, outbound and domestic) 41,000 unemployed, Tk. 55 crore in tourist transport and cargo ships and 1,500 unemployed. Moreover, according to the Ministry of Tourism, the coronavirus has caused a loss of about Tk 14 crore in the travel and tourism sector in Bangladesh.
Like the rest of the world, Bangladesh’s tourism industry has suffered a setback. The persistence of this catastrophe depends on the transmission and eradication of the corona virus. The world’s tourism industry has already faced various setbacks, with viruses such as SARS, Mars and Ebola since 2000. But the whole world has been able to overcome its influence. So we need to formulate and implement the right plan to overcome the current Corona disaster quickly.
Experts must come forward to control the epidemic in order to overcome the crisis in the tourism industry. We have to ensure its implementation by formulating proper plan. In this case, the government has to come forward. It is necessary to ensure incentives in times of crisis by preparing a list of small, medium and large businessmen and entrepreneurs involved in the tourism industry. In times of crisis, workers should not be laid off, but should be given leave or reduced working hours to reduce the amount of damage. In case of crisis, the collection of interest on loans taken from public or private sources should be suspended. The government needs to ensure communication with all sections involved in the tourism industry. Their advantages and disadvantages need to be seriously analyzed. Organizations involved in the tourism industry need to ensure that they receive timely assistance by setting up emergency funds. The borrowing system needs to be simplified. And institutions need to ensure the development of small, medium and short-term plans such as working capital and fast and subsidized lending systems to provide liquidity facilities. Various laws and regulations related to the tourism industry need to be reviewed and simplified. Consumer and tourist protection must be ensured. Ensure refund of advance payment and supervision of tourist area. Employees involved in the tourism industry need to be trained and trained in new products, market systems, marketing and promotion. They need to be trained to develop digital skills. During the Corona Crisis, regional, national and global organization level financial incentive packages have been announced or will be announced in advance to include the tourism industry as a priority and a loss-making sector. Tourism needs to be promoted to win the confidence of the tourists and to make the local people aware. The recommendations of Crisis Management Committee (CMC), Ministry of Private Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh Tourism Board, Bangladesh Tourism Corporation and other organizations should be disseminated in the media through print and electronic media. The tourism sector needs to be revived and coordinated by regularly reviewing the response of domestic and international tourists. Different sectors in the tourism industry need to be encouraged to invest. We need to increase employment in the tourism industry and organize fairs and develop online platforms to recruit skilled manpower. Special assistance such as loans, tax benefits should be given to the tourism companies which create employment.
Appropriate planning and implementation must be ensured to mobilize the tourism industry which has been affected by the Corona. And in addition to recovering from the crisis, it is necessary to create and implement an action plan aimed at creating a strong position in the international market.
Kazi Farhana Islam is studying at the Department of Islamic Studies,