Tourism sector for specific incentive combating coronavirus crisis

25 Apr 2020 7:58 PM
'The way the government approached incentives for the garment sector and remittances, the same approach needs to be requested the aviation and tourism sector'

 Travel and tourism service providers has urged the federal government to place a particular incentive guidelines to support the country’s entire aviation and leisure industry as the ongoing global travel stalemate due to Covid-19 pandemic sent the sector into tailspin.

What sort of government approached incentives for the garment sector and remittances, the same approach has to be applied for the aviation and tourism sectorAssociation of TRAVEL COMPANIES of Bangladesh (ATAB) past president S N Manzur Murshed said, reports BSS.

Mentioning that aviation and tourism sector as the country’s major service industry with 4 million employees, he said “owners of this sector in Bangladesh need to incur a lot more than Tk100 crore daily losses” because of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the global aviation sector is losing 1.2 billion US dollars or Taka 10,200 crore per day in fact it is estimated that all parts of tourism like tour operators, travel companies, hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, airlines, tourist transports, cruise and guides face as high as 3 billion dollars or Taka 25,500 each day losses globally.

“Our honorable Prime Minister has recently said aviation and tourism sectors are affected. So, now specific and comprehensive plan ought to be taken,” said Monzur, also a former Person in Bangladesh tourism Board.

He said as a representative of ATAB, he has recently submitted a letter to the Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry to draw the type attention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take required initiatives at the earliest opportunity for the Aviation and Tourism Sector.

He said emergency support is necessary from Prime minister for the aviation and tourism sector as coronavirus has direct impact on the tourism industry.

Pointing that the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Ul Fitr are nearby, he said “during this time period, staff salaries and other ancillary expenses is there, also we have to take care of their own families as well”.

Earlier, Tour Operator Association of Bangladesh (TOAB), a platform of 678 tour operators of Bangladesh, estimated their loss by conducting a survey titled “Impacts on Bangladesh Tourism and TOAB because of COVID-19”.

“After analyzing the losses from January to March this season, we have estimated that we, the tour operators of Bangladesh, may loss practically Taka 6000 crore this season - from January to December - if the problem does not improve,” TOAB president Md Rafeuzzaman said.

Besides, The PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Bangladesh chapter has predicted that overall Bangladesh tourism sector will incur a lack of approximately Taka 9,705 crore of business till June 2020 because of outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic.

“We have estimated the turnover of entire tourism sector from February to next June 2020… and as our total business is currently shut down, we will lose the complete business of Taka 9,705 crore,” Secretary General of PATA Bangladesh Chapter Taufiq Rahman said.

Your body also urged the federal government to allocate taka 1000 crore for hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, tour operators, tourist vehicles and vessels and private airlines as well as make a provision of providing Taka 2000 crore as interest free loan as a loss recovery package for the tourism sector.

On March 13, the World Travel and Tourism Council said that up to 50 million jobs in the global travel and tourism sector are at risk as a result of global COVID-19 outbreak.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is keeping a sharp eye on the problem evolved for the coronavirus pandemic and has been taking measures whatever essential to protect Bangladesh from its onslaught.

Under the measures, the Prime Minister has announced various stimulus packages involving Taka 95,619 crore which is 3.3 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to offset the possible adverse effect on the economy because of the nationwide shutdown declared for the coronavirus pandemic.

The financial stimulus packages are: Taka 30,000 crore as working capital for the influenced industries and service sectors; Tk 20,000 crore as working capital for really small, small and medium enterprises; Tk 12,750 crore to boost the advantages of Export Development Fund (EDF); Tk 5,000 crore beneath the Pre-shipment Credit Refinance Scheme and Taka 5000 crore as special fund for the export oriented industries.

The aviation and tourism sector has been included in the Prime Minister’s financial stimulus packages as the government also formed a 14-member tourism crisis management committee headed by the Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB) CEO to get the sort of incentives the tourism stakeholders need to tackle the crisis.