After being off-limits to tourists for almost five months to curb Covid-19 transmissions, Cox's Bazar's beaches and tourist spots are reopening conditionally from Thursday.
More than 500 restaurants, hotels, motels, and guest houses are making last-minute preparations to welcome tourists.
On Wednesday, tourists from nearby districts already started arriving in Cox's Bazar. There is also noticeable activity in the hawkers' markets and street shops.
Director of hotel Ocean Paradise, Abdul Quader Mishu, said, "We will try our best to run our business smoothly but we do not think it will be an easy task to recover from the losses we have incurred in the past few months."
Like Mishu, many other hoteliers are also cautiously optimistic.
Abu Morshed Chowdhury, president of Cox's Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said the tourism sector in the country came to a standstill amid the pandemic. In the last five months, we have lost at least Tk50,000 crore in this sector. But I hope business will regain momentum, now that restrictions have been relaxed."
To attract tourists, several hotels have also announced discounts and offers.
Abul Kashem Sikder, general secretary of the Federation of Tourism Owners' Association of Bangladesh, said, "I have looked at the discounts and offers and we are working to ensure that no hotel books more than 50% of its rooms."
President of Cox's Bazar Beach Management Committee, and Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar, Md Mamunur Rashid said local administration is monitoring the situation closely and will take strict action against any who do not comply with health regulations.
Police Super of Cox's Bazar Tourist Police, Zillur Rahman, said the police is fully prepared and will be present at every tourist point.
"There will also be mobile courts and we will coordinate with them," he added.
Earlier on 26 March last year, tourist spots first closed down after a general holiday was declared all over the country to tackle Covid-19 transmissions. Later on 17 August last year, restrictions were relaxed. But with the onslaught of a new wave of the coronavirus, tourist spots and accomodations were closed again on 5 April this year.