Current political unrest affects tourism
THE tourism industry is considered to be one of the most vulnerable industries in the country, directly affected directly by various aspects. Economic stability, international relations, infrastructural facilities, transportation flexibility, hospitality in the host country are some of the crucial elements that strongly determine the number of tourists at a destination. Above all, political stability in the host country is extremely important. It is obvious that tourists won’t come if they do not feel secure in an environment. It is the responsibility of the host country to ensure the safety and comfort of the tourists. It is a misfortune indeed that Bangladesh is undergoing political turmoil, which is only aggravating day by day and crippling our tourism industry. There are lot of debates regarding the causes due to which the political unrest originated but the truth is that at the end of the day the country’s economy and people are terribly suffering. The situation is so adverse that it remains to be seen whether the country’s crippled tourism industry will be able to revive if and when things get back to normal.
The tourism industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors in the country. However, it has been a blessing for the revenue it generates and its contribution to the economy and its socio-cultural refurbishments. Currently, due to the political situation in the country, the foreign tourists are afraid to visit Bangladesh. The news of violence in the international media affects their decisions. Naturally, many tourists have been cancelling their business and holiday trips to Bangladesh. Furthermore, different countries have discouraged their citizens from travelling here unless the present political crisis in resolved and peace is restored.
The current political unrest is not only impacting international tourism but also domestic tourism. Many tourist places within Dhaka that used to be fully packed over the weekend hardly see much crowds nowadays as people are scared to leave the safety of their homes. The locals here see the extent of violence not only in the media but also in reality; many have seen their friends and relatives suffer as victims of violence, hence they choose to leave home only to fulfil necessities.
The state security forces such as the police are also currently very busy to handle political violence and they have very low participation in other sectors such as ensuring security at tourist destinations. Another concern of tourists is that very often tourist destinations become the targets of attack by the protesters. Due to the political instability, investors are also walking away. A lack of flow of funds creates instability affects the sustainability of the tourism sector. The business of hotels, motels, restaurants and bars is being interrupted due to financial crisis. A large number of hotels and restaurants may shut down, which may cause large unemployment.
Mejbah Uddin Ahmed
Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management
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