The Financial Express

Disciplining young tourists

| Updated: March 20, 2022 22:00:03

Disciplining young tourists

The corona-time panicky situation in the country has been over for some time. The percentage of the Covid-19-hit people is on the decline. Educational institutions across the country have opened their long-shut gates after two years, making way for students to attend classes daily. Against this backdrop, the tourism sector can't remain idle. Following off-and-on openings in the midst of brief relaxation of the closures, many tourists rushed to the obscure spots. Now that the tourist sites ranging from the Sundarbans, the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Moulvibazar's Bisnakandi and many others are officially open, all of them are filled with tourists from different social strata. It needs not explanation that they are habitual tourists. Likewise, the youths rushing to the different spots as part of a crash programme amid classes also belong to the same category.

In Bangladesh, youths comprise a large segment of the countrywide tourists. Their number continues to increase by the day. Tourist experts detect causes of worry in this growth of young and teenage tourists, especially at the beach resorts. Young people not knowing how to swim are nowadays a common feature in the cities, including Dhaka and Chittagong. A considerably large number of these young people comprise the tourists visiting sea resorts of the country. Apart from that in Cox's Bazar, the other such beach resort is situated in Kuakata in the Patuakhali district. A media report has recently quoted beach security experts as having said that both the beaches are exposed to hazards posed to youths. As days wear on and the number of beachgoers keeps swelling, the spectre of drowning incidents becomes more conspicuous.  Of the two, the Cox's Bazar beach has been identified as the worse in terms of the availability of sufficient number of lifeguards. When it comes to the number of visitors to the beaches, Kuakata is nowhere near the one at Cox's Bazar. It is recognised as the longest unbroken beach in the world. As expected, it has the natural gifts to attract a large number of beachgoers, especially the venturesome youths.

Ruefully speaking, the beach authorities lack the capability to employ a sufficient number of lifeguards for saving the divers and bathers. As a consequence, the ignorant sea-goers remain exposed to various sorts of vulnerabilities. A number of hazardous situations, thus, lead to the incidents of missing and death. In the recent years, the number of cases involving ignorant tourists being swept away by receding high waves or bogged down in deceptive sand layers has been on the rise. After reopening of the beach following a 2-year pandemic closure, the limited number of lifeguards cannot be expected to pay attention to all the segments of youths. They are generally interested in bathing in stretches beyond the areas declared safe. At the Cox's Bazar beach lately, daredevil youths are found engaged in various types of sea-sport, especially skiing which requires top level of skill in keeping balance. Lack of the required expertise may lead to life-threatening situations. That the country's longest beach doesn't have the sufficient number of supervising lifeguards is nothing unusual. On the other hand, teaching the novice bathers how to take a dip in the face of a roaring high wave is veritably absent at some points of the beach.

For the unseasoned bathers, the most risk-laden part of rushing into the beach waters is doing so without the help of skilled lifeguards. Few of the first-timers among the bathers are sufficiently skilled in this fun. On repeated occasions, these apparently innocent and youthful antics often end up being tragic drowning. The crux of the matter is the beaches of Bangladesh lack sufficient numbers of lifeguards, volunteers, professional rescuers --- and law enforcers to discipline a section of compulsively delinquent tourists. These drawbacks need to be addressed urgently.

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