Dhaka: Until the tourism sector resumes operation and recovers from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the government must give its utmost attention to the survival of all those involved in the travel trade industry. To not let these individual companies starve and help them sustain, the government should provide grants and short as well as long term soft loans.
Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury, Former Adviser, Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and Founder and CEO, Tiger Tours Ltd said this on April 17 during the second session of the weeklong video conference titled PATA Talk During Lockdown organised by Pacific Asia Travel Association Bangladesh Chapter.
"The government has already announced the roll out of stimulus packages to help industries recover from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. However, now, these just need to be fine tuned a little and be allocated separately for the tourism industry and all its sub sectors including inbound, outbound, domestic and aviation," said Chowdhury.
A lion share of the country's tourism industry relies on outbound tourism. Therefore, it is a must for the government to help boost its operations in the aftermath of coronavirus outbreak. "However, before that, right now, all should worry about their survival first. And the government here has the lead role to play," Chowdhury added.
On the other hand, aviation is the biggest platform for tourism. Specially in outbound tourism, airlines are integral part. The more local airlines operate, the cheaper it gets for travellers to travel abroad. Even in domestic tourism, airlines play a pivotal role because of poor road connectivity Bangladesh has.
It also contributes to the development of the country's economy, Chowdhury further mentioned. Foreign investors are able to fly in special economic zones conveniently thanks to air connectivity. Therefore the need for separate stimulus allocation for the airline industry is essential in order for them to survive in the post COVID-19 era.
The purpose of the video conference organised by PATA BD Chapter to be held every day till April 22 is to come up with key suggestions through discussion between the industry stakeholders and concerned government officials which will be later compiled and proposed as recommendations to the ministry to overcome the unfortunate crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.