The Financial Express

Covid’s brighter side: Local tourism rebounds in Bangladesh

| Updated: December 03, 2020 13:30:11

Kangchenjunga peak seen from Tetulia of Panchagarh  district Kangchenjunga peak seen from Tetulia of Panchagarh district

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the world, but not without a silver lining. For months, people had been confined to their homes due to the phase-wise lockdown measures, imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

During that period, people remained fixated on their phones that eventually took a toll on their spirit and also health in some cases.

So, almost everyone, even the most reluctant traveller, wanted to break free of the quarantine measure as they wistfully gazed at the photos of spots of scenic beauty on their phones.

When that finally happened, the country's tourism industry began to bounce back.

At the end of October, a postcard vista of Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain peak, then visible from Tetulia of Panchagarh district went viral on the social media.

The snow-capped mountain looms on the horizon of Tetulia at the beginning of November almost every year. But this year the vista appeared a little earlier.

''It’s raining at this time of the year and the place is free of dust, clouds and fog. So, Kanchenjunga is visible on the horizon,” Jahangir Alam, an officer of the Tetulia Weather Observation center, said. “This year the weather is much clearer, so it looks much better."

In the first week of September, Meghadree Eco Resort, a scenic spot in Sajek Valley, Rangamati, reopened for the tourists. After prolonged immobility due to Covid-19 restrictions, people began to gather at this picturesque location.

"We’re completely booked out for this year. In fact, all of our cottages are booked until December. This year's tourist gathering is a little bit higher,” said an official of the resort.

The widespread closure of businesses and factories due to the pandemic has reset the nature in its full glory, stoking people’s desire to visit natural landmarks.

In the third week of March, when the government declared nationwide lockdown, three tourists visiting St. Martin's island decided to stay there. They became stranded on the island for two months as the lockdown was extended in phases.

Being cut off from the mainland, they began posting pictures of the island and their day-to-day life on the social media, causing envy of many people who were confined to their homes.

The trio played a starring role in boosting tourism in Cox’s Bazar and St. Martin’s Island when the lockdown measure was relaxed afterwards.

Meanwhile, Nikli and Mithamain in Kishoreganj, a little out of the general tourist destination, topped the list of bikers' favourites, or for boat trips. As expected, social media played a role in making these two places popular in very a short time.

Tourism industry has suffered a great loss due to the pandemic. But the situation is changing as the fear of coronavirus has subsided, despite challenges, and vaccines are on the horizon.

Sirajum Munira Tuli is currently studying English Literature at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet.

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