Aviation, hospitality industry leaders welcome the decision
Aviation and hospitality industry leaders welcomed the decrease in the duration for mandatory institutional quarantine for incoming passengers from overseas which was reduced from 14 days to three days, on Saturday.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, they also hoped that the new regulation would bring more passengers to the country, as the reduced quarantine period benefits both the airlines and hotel owners amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) said in a notification on Saturday that the new rule will come into effect immediately, until midnight of April 28.
Earlier, the government made a 14-day institutional quarantine mandatory for the incoming passengers in a bid to contain the Covid-19 spread when Bangladesh entered into an “all-out” lockdown from April 14, which remains in force until April 28.
Kamrul Islam, general manager (public relations) at US-Bangla Airlines, said that due to 14 days quarantine period many passengers, including expatriate Bangladeshis, were not eager to return to the country, but hopes that it change now.
“Because of the CAAB decision, many passengers will travel to Bangladesh, as there will be no lengthy quarantine procedure,” he also said.
“Foreigners who can opt for short vacations or tours will also ponder travelling to Bangladesh. Overall, the new quarantine decision will have a positive impact,” he added.
Rashadul Hossain Chowdhury, general secretary of the Bangladesh Hotel and Guest House Owners Association (BHGHOA), said that the domestic hotel-restaurant businesses have been reeling from the economic fallout dealt by Covid-19.
"This new 3-day quarantine rule may bring many to our hotels and guest houses," he added.
There are 17 five star hotels, four 4-star and 17 three-star hotels in the country, according to Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC)
Abdul Ahad, assistant reservation manager at the Days Hotel Dhaka, located in the capital's Baridhara area, said: “We are prepared to receive more quarantine guests, as the period has decreased to three days. It will also cost less than before, which will eventually bring more guests to hotels.”
"For a quarantine period per night depending on the room, a customer has to spend Tk3,000- 5,000 per night. There are discounts and other options, but nearly 90% of our rooms are vacant," he added.
White Palace Hotel Uttara’s Sales Manager Iqbal Hossain said: “A fortnight-long quarantine period was lengthy and costly for many. But now three-day quarantine will help us, as it is shorter and will cost less.”
"Many foreigners and Bangladeshi passengers will arrive following this decision. For per night, we charge Tk2,500-5,000 depending on room and services. We are expecting more guests as a result of this decision," he added.
Earlier, Sadia Saica Fareea, assistant communication manager of InterContinental Dhaka, told Dhaka Tribune that the Covid-19 crisis has impacted the whole hospitality industry as several international and domestic events were postponed.
The number of visitors from both home and abroad has fallen. Last month's revenue has also dropped considerably in comparison to last year, she also said.
According to a Bangladesh Hotel Owners Association statement on Friday, during the last lockdown, the government had instructed to give stimulus to the losing businesses, but most banks did not give any loan, as a result of which 30% hotel and restaurant owners went bankrupt.
Many owners have gone out of business, with the remaining owners losing business an average of 50%.
The hotels and facilities in Dhaka approved by the government for quarantine of passengers from Europe and the UK are:
Ascott The Residence Dhaka, The Westin Dhaka, Ascott Palace Ltd; Platinum Hotels by Sheltech, Hansa Uttora, Long Beach Suites Dhaka, Hotel Lake Castle, Best Western Plus Maple Leaf, Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Days Hotel, Monsoon Inn Pvt. Ltd, After Hours Residence, Golden Tulip The Grandmark, Hotel Tropical Daisy, Hotel Sweet Dream, Best Western La Vinci Hotel, Amazon Lily Lakeview Residence.
According to Saturday’s circular, incoming passengers carrying PCR-based Covid-19 negative certificates, and either already vaccinated with first dose (proof of vaccination needs to be carried) or not yet vaccinated, will have to complete a mandatory three days' institutional quarantine at government facilities or designated hotels at their own expenses.
Upon completion of the institutional quarantine, samples will be collected from them for the Covid-19 PCR tests, the CAAB said.
If the test results come negative, they will be released to complete a total of 11 days’ home quarantine which will be supervised by the local administration.
In case of positive results, the passengers will have to go into isolation at the government nominated facilities at their own expense, it said.
The civil aviation authorities also said the arriving passengers, who already have received two shots of Covid-19 vaccine and possess PCR-based Covid-19 negative certificates along with the proof of vaccination, will have to complete a 14 days' home quarantine under the supervision of the local administration.
All incoming or outgoing passengers will mandatorily possess PCR-based Covid-19 negative certificates and the tests will be done within 72 hours of the flight departure time.
The authorities also asked the airlines concerned to issue boarding passes, upon confirmation, to the passengers who already are fully vaccinated and possess the Covid-19 negative certificates along with the proof of vaccination.
For the passengers carrying the Covid-19 negative certificate, and either already vaccinated with first dose or not yet vaccinated, the airlines must be confirmed if seats are available at the government quarantine facilities or the passengers must have proof of hotel reservation for institutional quarantine, it said.
If seats are not available at the government quarantine facilities, the passengers will be allowed to board the flights only after ensuring the confirmation of hotel reservation, the CAAB added.