The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, spread from Wuhan city of China in December 2019 has brought the world to a stand-still, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors. All the tourist destinations in the world have introduced restrictions in response to this pandemic. On March 8, 2020, the first corona-infected patient was identified in Bangladesh. From March 26 to May 30, 2020, all tourist attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, recreation centers, air, roads, railways and waterways were closed with the announcement of general holidays in the country. As a result, the outbound, inbound and domestic tourism of Bangladesh fell into a catastrophe; people from all walks of life associated with the tourism industry suffered. About 4 million tourism workers and at least 1.5 million dependents are plunged into deep uncertainty. According to the information received from various sources, the loss in the travel and tourism sector in these three months from March to May amounted to 14.8702 billion.
The Honorable Prime Minister of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh has called for adherence to health protocols, maintaining social distance and adhering to health Etiquette in public places. Recognizing the importance of formulating Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism directed Bangladesh Tourism Board to prepare SOP.
A committee of 28memberswas constituted on May 28, 2020 by the Bangladesh Tourism Board to prepare SOPs with the persistent demands of all the associations in the tourism industry, tour operators, travel agents, hotel owners, amusement park operators and others. Bangladesh Tourism Board, based on the guideline of UNWTO and WHO, 12-point health rules of the Ministry of Health and Family Planning, office order of the Cabinet Division and Ministry of Public Administration, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Shipping, and opinion of tourism stakeholders and Private associations, has formulated this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Prioritizing on health, hygiene and safety of the domestic and inbound tourism, this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will try to attract tourists to travel in Bangladesh, promote and expand Bangladesh tourism, restore the confidence of tourists, recover the loss of tourism, and above all to secure tourists travel and stay in Bangladesh. This SOP will be compliant with the revised guidelines of UNWTO and WHO, the revised health rules of the Ministry of Health and Family Planning, even after being freed from the effects of Covid-1 9. This is a guideline for launching SOP tourism related organizations. This SOP is not a guideline tore-open the sub-sectors of tourism rather to follow when respective authority directs to re-open them. This SOP will increase the confidence of domestic and foreign tourists towards the tourism related service sectors of Bangladesh and will develop tourism in Bangladesh.