Here's some good news for tourists. After a hiatus of over seven months, tourist ship operations have resumed on the popular Saint Martin's Island-Teknaf route in Cox's Bazar.
On Tuesday, a ship belonging to KEARI Cruise & Dine with some 310 tourists on board left for Saint Martin's from Damdamai Teknaf point around 9am and reached its destination three-and-a-half hours later.
Local people led by the chairman of Saint Martin's Union, Nur Ahmed, welcomed the tourists with flowers.
Pervez Chowdhury, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Teknaf, said, “The local administration has given permission to KEARI Cruise & Dine authorities to operate on the Saint Martin's-Teknaf route on a trial basis.”
Already the local administration has carried out repairs on the Saint Martin's jetty aiming to ease the transportation of tourists, he said, adding that other vessels will also be allowed on the route gradually.
People are happy with the resumption of tourist ship services on the popular route.
Tabassum, a student of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), said, “I came here with my family after getting the news of the resumption of the tourist ship operations on the route. Now, we will all enjoy the beauty of nature on the island.”
Besides, hotels on the island are leaving no stone unturned to make the stay of tourists a pleasant one.
Shah Alam, manager of KEARI Cruise & Dine, said, “We have resumed our operations as per the directives of the local administration and we will also refrain from overloading and taking extra charges from passengers.”
Every year, the local administration suspends the movement of tourist ships on the popular tourist route from March till September due to inclement weather.
But this year, the local administration did not allow any ship on the Saint Martin’s-Teknaf route till November 15 due to the repair work at the island jetty, considering the safety of the tourists.
The jetty sustained severe structural damage due to Cyclone Yaas that made landfall in Bangladesh and eastern India in May this year.