Blasts hit tourism in Bangladesh

Dhaka, August 22:

The August 17 countrywide serial explosions that rocked Bangladesh have had a negative impact on business and tourism with anxious foreigners cancelling proposed visits.

Hospitality industry officials said several foreigners had suspended their scheduled tours of Bangladesh and were anxiously inquiring about the aftermath of the over 400 blasts that killed two people and injured over 150, the daily New Age reported today. Officials at Hotel Sonargaon, one of the two five star hotels in the city, said occupancy rates had fallen significantly as foreign buyers and businessmen had stopped coming to the country since the incident.

“We suffered a five to six percent loss in business till Saturday as an impact of the August 17 blasts,” Imtiaz Ahmed Siddiqi, a senior official of the hotel, said. Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Fazlul Haque said the foreign buyers were a worried lot and had been asking local exporters, if their supplies would be held up in the wake of the blasts.

A K Azad, chairman and managing director of the Hameem Group, said many of his buyers from Europe and the US had anxiously been inquiring about the latest situation in Bangladesh. “Buyers get anxious as instability and insecurity could hinder supply of their goods,” said the owner of one of the largest conglomerate in Bangladesh having a number of export-oriented garment units, “I tried to tell my buyers that blasts was a stray incident and such will not occur again. But will the government be able to ensure it?”