Some three lakh people, including local residents and small traders, will lose their livelihoods if government restrictions on the number of tourists on Saint Martin's Island are implemented.
Additionally, the investment of several thousand crore, in the tourism sector of the country's lone coral island, will be threatened, said the Tour Operators Association of Cox's Bazar (TOAC) on Tuesday; demanding the restriction be reconsidered.
Only 1,250 tourists will be allowed to visit the island, on a daily basis, and nobody will be allowed to stay overnight. The Civil Aviation and Tourism ministry made the decision on a zoom meeting on August 6.
During the tourist season, four to five thousand tourists travel to the island on seven to eight ships every day; and 30 percent of them spend the night.
According to TOAC, some seven or eight ships, hundreds of buses-minibuses, more than a hundred microbuses, several hundred tour operators, and more than 400 tourist guides; people who work in more than a hundred hotels and cottages; as well as employees of over fifty restaurants on the island will be left stranded because of the restriction.
Tuak President Tofail Ahmed said, "If the concerned authorities do not back down from the decision, we will go to the law as a last resort."
"The decision of the court is final. We are working to promote tourism. I will visit my land. No one can stop it. Centrally controlling tourism in Cox's Bazar would lead to a catastrophe. We jointly seek cooperation in the development of tourism."