Twelve members of new militant group 'Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya' and 14 members of armed separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) have been arrested so far in the ongoing anti-militancy drive that started on October 10,2022. Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of Rapid Action Battalion’s (RAB) legal and media wing, disclosed this at a press briefing over the arrest at zila parishad office in the town on Thursday. He briefed reporters after the arrest of five suspected members of new militant outfit 'Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya' from Thanchi and Rowangchhari upazilas of Bandarban. Read More: 3 ‘members of new militant outfit’ held with arms, explosives in Bandarban They were brought to the Rab office in the town in the morning. “Besides, we have a list of 55 people who took training in the hills being inspired by militancy. Legal steps will be taken against those who have been arrested, said Moin. The ban on tourism in Rowangchhari, Thanchi and Ruma upazilas is still on as the anti-militancy drive is continuing in the hill district. The main purpose of the drives by the elite force was to capture those who are taking shelter and taking training there after tracing their location, said Moin. Read More: Bandarban: Ban on tourism in 3 upazilas extended till Dec 11 In 2021, the Amir of Jamatul Ansar fil Hindal Sharqiya had an agreement with the CHT-based armed group KNF regarding militant training in the area till next year. As per the agreement, Tk 3 lakh per month and food expenses of all KNF members were to be borne, the RAB official said in a press briefing last year.
The tourism minister of Israel's new hardline government on Sunday promised to invest in developing the West Bank, calling the occupied area “our local Tuscany.” Haim Katz made the comments days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government took office, promising in its coalition guidelines to make West Bank settlement construction a top priority. His coalition includes far-right settler leaders in top posts. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and has built dozens of settlements that are now home to roughly 500,000 Israelis. Read more: Israeli missile strikes put Damascus airport out of service The Palestinians claim the entire area as part of a future independent state and consider the settlements illegal — a position that is widely shared by the international community. Israel's commitment to deepening its control of the West Bank has threatened to put it on a collision course with some of its closest allies. At a ceremony Sunday, Katz said he would channel resources to promote tourism in the West Bank. “We will invest in areas that may not have received sufficient support to date,” he said. “For example, our local Tuscany in Judea and Samaria," he added, using the biblical term for the West Bank favored by religious and right-wing Israelis. The West Bank settler community has developed a small tourism sector that includes hotels, bed and breakfasts and wineries. Israel considers these industries to be part of the country's broader tourism sector, while international human rights groups have said they deepen control of occupied territory. Airbnb in 2018 said it would bar listings in the Israeli settlements, but it quickly backed down under heavy Israeli pressure. Last year, Booking.com said it was adding warnings to its listings there. Read more: Israel indicts soldiers for trying to bomb Palestinian home On Friday, the U.N. General Assembly asked the U.N.'s highest judicial body to give its opinion on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu called the resolution “disgraceful” and said Israel is not obligated to cooperate with the International Court of Justice.
Although there are more than 500 hotels, motels, and other residential establishments in Cox’s Bazar, only four of these have their own Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP), which is turning the tourist city into an open gutter. According to Abu Sufian, an Additional District Magistrate who is also the In-charge of the district administration’s tourist cell, only three five-star and one three-star hotels in Cox’s Bazar have STP systems. “There are eight more luxurious hotels which don’t have STP. We’ve told the star-labeled hotels to establish their own STP and have decided to bring the existing hotels under a centralized STP system,” Sufian said. Saiful Islam, Assistant Director of Department of Environment in Cox’s Bazar, said that the government has asked more than 300 hotels to set up STP system regardless of the fact that most of these hotels don’t have space for STP. Read more: JS body suggests stern action to prevent illegal sand extraction in Cox's Bazar “Most of the hotels adjacent to the beach have been constructed without following environmental laws, and bad smell coming out of the excrement released from these hotels is resulting in the loss of tourists. That’s why the district administration in association with Cox’s Bazar Development Authority, Cox’s Bazar municipality and Department of Environment have jointly agreed to establish a central STP system,” Saiful said. Mohammad Junaid, General Secretary of Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Protection Council, said that the government should ensure that any new infrastructure in Cox’s Bazar is set up after receiving clearance from the environment department.
Leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) said the tourism sector is frustrated as it is not in the list of the top ten sectors of Bangladesh, though the sector has 100 percent value addition to the country's economy. They urged for the government's support in national and international branding besides increasing policy support for the development of this potential sector, they said. Read more: FBCCI seeks dollars from reserves to import commodities for Ramadan They said this in the second meeting of the standing committee on Hotel, Motel, Resort and Guest House Development held at FBCCI on Tuesday. The businessmen said that the tourism industry in Bangladesh has developed. But the development is far behind compared to that of the neighboring countries. Businessmen believe that the tourism sector will be at top if government policy support increases. Speaking as the chief guest FBCCI Vice President Md Amin Helaly said, “Tourism sector has made a lot of progress in the past years. Modern facilities, equipment, and technology are being used in our hotels, motels, and resorts like in developed countries. But still, the industry faces the lack of infrastructure, skilled manpower, and transport facilities.” Read more: FBCCI seeks partnership with UK in technology transfer, supply chain development He said, “Seven Sisters of India could be the potential market for Bangladesh’s tourism sector. Helaly urged for taking the integrated initiative to tie up with the tourists of seven sisters region of India. The other speakers demanded the simplification of license or clearance, more development of the communication system, bringing all tourism in the country under the license, and a government funding system for training of tourist guides. FBCCI Director MGR Nasir Majumder, Hafez Harun, Abu Hussain Bhuiyan (Ranu), Akkas Mahmood, Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, Committee Co-Chairman Khandaker Ruhul Amin, AHM Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, Irfan Ahmed, Jalal Uddin Tipu, and others also spoke in the meeting.
The governor of Bali has dismissed worries that amended rules, which include provisions criminalising sex outside marriage, may frighten tourists away from its coasts – saying that foreign visitors to Bali are not in danger. Last week, the contentious measure that forbids cohabitation of unmarried couples was approved by Indonesia's parliament. In an effort to reassure tourists, Bali Governor Wayan Koster underlined in a statement on Sunday (December 11) that the new regulations, which take effect in three years, may only be prosecuted if a parent, spouse, or child files a complaint, AsiaOne reports. He stated that anyone who “visits or resides” in Bali would not need to fear over the implementation of the Indonesian criminal code. The Bali governor said that laws regarding this matter in the penal code had been changed from a previous, more stringent version so as to “give a greater assurance of everyone's privacy and comfort,” the report added. Read: 2002 Bali terrorist attack: Australia wants Indonesia to monitor released bombmaker According to Wayan, the Bali government would make sure that “there will be no checking on marital status upon check-in at any tourism accommodation, such as hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges and spas.” In addition, Wayan refuted what he called “hoax” predictions of flight and hotel cancellations, noting that information from airlines, travel agencies, and tour operators showed an increase in the number of people planning to come to Bali between December 2022 and March 2023. The tourist organisation wants international visitors to the mostly Hindu island of Bali to achieve pre-pandemic levels of six million per year by 2025. Bali is the epicentre of Indonesian tourism. The governor of Bali has dismissed worries that amended rules, which include provisions criminalising sex outside marriage, may frighten tourists away from its coasts – saying that foreign visitors to Bali are not in danger. Last week, the contentious measure that forbids cohabitation of unmarried couples was approved by Indonesia's parliament. In an effort to reassure tourists, Bali Governor Wayan Koster underlined in a statement on Sunday (December 11) that the new regulations, which take effect in three years, may only be prosecuted if a parent, spouse, or child files a complaint, AsiaOne reports. Read: Indonesia’s Parliament votes to ban sex outside of marriage He stated that anyone who “visits or resides” in Bali would not need to fear over the implementation of the Indonesian criminal code. The Bali governor said that laws regarding this matter in the penal code had been changed from a previous, more stringent version so as to “give a greater assurance of everyone's privacy and comfort,” the report added. According to Wayan, the Bali government would make sure that “there will be no checking on marital status upon check-in at any tourism accommodation, such as hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges and spas.” In addition, Wayan refuted what he called “hoax” predictions of flight and hotel cancellations, noting that information from airlines, travel agencies, and tour operators showed an increase in the number of people planning to come to Bali between December 2022 and March 2023. The tourist organisation wants international visitors to the mostly Hindu island of Bali to achieve pre-pandemic levels of six million per year by 2025. Bali is the epicentre of Indonesian tourism.
As part of security measures in Bandarban, one of the three constituent districts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the administration has imposed an indefinite ban on tourism at Rowangchhari and Ruma upazilas. A public notice in this regard was issued by Bandarban Deputy Commissioner (routine duty) Md Lutfor Rahman on Sunday requesting tourists to not travel to these upazilas until further notice. However the tourists will be able to travel freely in other upazilas of Bandarban, said the notice. Read more: Bandarban: Ban on tourism in 3 upazilas extended till Dec 11 Earlier on December 3, the travel ban in three upazilas of the district Ruma, Rowangchhari, and Thanchi was extended till December 11. This is the eleventh consecutive time that such restriction has been extended for the safety of tourists amid an anti-militancy drive in the district's remote areas. Earlier, the local administration lifted the restriction from Alikadam upazila and Thanchi upazila on November 12 and November 16, respectively – before imposing it again in Thanchi. Read more: Ban on tourism in parts of Bandarban extended till Dec 4 Law enforcement agencies started a joint drive against the underground extremists and criminals in the district on October 10.
The first Bangladesh International Travel and Tourism Expo that started Thursday to boost the country's tourism industry and showcase it to global tourists drew to a close Saturday at a Dhaka hotel. The Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) organised the three-day expo at Bangabandhu International Conference Center. According to organisers, airlines, hospitals, travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, resorts and other travel and tourism-related service organisations of more than 15 countries including India, Malaysia, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and the UAE, joined the expo. Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun was present as the chief guest and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen as the special guest at the closing ceremony. Francisco de Asís Benítez Salas, ambassador of Spain, Ito Naoki, ambassador of Japan, Haznah Md Hashim, high commissioner of Malaysia, Pham Viet Chien, ambassador of Vietnam, Ghanshyam Bhandari, ambassador of Nepal, were also present. At the event, the industries minister announced that the Bangladesh International Travel and Tourism Expo 2023 will be held from December 1 to 3. Read more: FBCCI partners with CNN to promote trade, investment opportunities in Bangladesh globally
Bandarban district administration has further extended the temporary ban on tourism in Ruma, Rowangchhari, and Thanchi upazilas till December 11 as part of the safety measures for tourists. A public notice in this regard was issued on Saturday, signed by Bandarban Deputy Commissioner Yeasmin Tibriji. The ban on tourism in three upazilas has been extended upon receiving a letter from Bandarban Cantonment. This is the tenth consecutive time that such restriction has been extended for the safety of tourists amid an anti-militancy drive in the district's remote areas. On November 27, the ban on tourism in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas was extended till today. Earlier, the local administration lifted the restriction from Alikadam upazila and Thanchi upazila on November 12 and November 16, respectively. The administration imposed a temporary restriction on visitors in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas on October 18. Later on October 23, the local administration discouraged tourists from traveling to Thanchi and Alikadam upazilas due to the same reason. From October 10, law enforcement agencies started a joint drive against the underground extremists and criminals in the district.
Dozens of world leaders and other dignitaries are traveling to Bali for the G-20 summit, drawing a welcome spotlight on the revival of the tropical island’s vital tourism sector. Tourism is the main source of income on this idyllic “island of the gods” that is home to more than 4 million people, who are mainly Hindu in the mostly Muslim archipelago nation. So the pandemic hit Bali harder than most places in Indonesia. Read more: Ukraine war, tensions with China loom over big Bali summit Before the pandemic, 6.2 million foreigners arrived in Bali each year. Its lively tourism scene faded after the first case of COVID-19 was found in Indonesia in March 2020, with restaurants and resorts shuttered and many workers returning to villages to try to get by. Foreign tourist arrivals dropped to only 1 million in 2020, mostly in the first few months of the year, and then to a few dozen in 2021, according to government data. More than 92,000 people employed in tourism lost their jobs and the average occupancy rate of Bali hotels fell below 20%. The island’s economy contracted 9.3% in 2020 from the year before and again contracted nearly 2.5% year-on-year in 2021. “The coronavirus outbreak has hammered the local economy horribly,” said Dewa Made Indra, regional secretary of Bali province. “Bali is the region with the most severe economic contraction.” After closing to all visitors early in the pandemic, Bali reopened to Indonesians from other parts of the country in mid-2020. That helped, but then a surge of cases in July 2021 again emptied the island’s normally bustling beaches and streets. Authorities restricted public activities, closed the airport and shuttered all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, tourist attractions and many other places on the island. Monkeys deprived of their preferred food source — bananas, peanuts and other goodies given to them by tourists — took to raiding villagers’ homes in their search for something tasty. The island reopened to domestic travelers a month later, in August, but in all of 2021 only 51 foreign tourists visited. Things are looking much better now. Shops and restaurants in places like Nusa Dua, a resort area where the G-20 meeting is being held, and in other towns like Sanur and Kuta have reopened, though business is slow and many businesses and hotels are still closed or have scaled back operations. Read more: US supports India for G20 presidency The reopening of Bali's airport to international flights and now the thousands coming for the G-20 summit and other related events have raised hopes for a stronger turnaround, Dewa said. More than 1.5 million foreign tourists and 3.1 domestic travelers had visited Bali as of October this year. Embracing a push toward more sustainable models of tourism, Bali has rolled out a digital nomad visa scheme, called the “second home visa" and due to take effect in December. It's also among 20 destinations Airbnb recently announced it was partnering with for remote work, also including places in the Caribbean and the Canary Islands. The recovery will likely take time, even if COVID-19 is kept at bay. Gede Wirata, who had to lay off most of the 4,000 people working in his hotels, restaurants, clubs and a cruise ship during the worst of the pandemic, found that when it came time to rehire them many had found jobs overseas or in other travel businesses. The G-20 is a welcome boost. “This is an opportunity for us to rise again from the collapse," he said. There's a way to go. Read more: Putin won’t be at G20 summit, avoiding possible confrontation with US “The situation has not yet fully recovered, but whatever the case, life has to go on,” said Wayan Willy, who runs a tourist agency in Bali with some friends. Before the pandemic, most of their clients were from overseas. Now it's mostly domestic tourists. But even those are few and far between. Bali has suffered greatly in the past. At times, the island's majestic volcanos have rumbled to life, at times erupting or belching ash. The dark cloud of the suicide bombings in Bali's beach town of Kuta that killed 202 mostly foreign tourists in 2002 lingered for years, devastating tourism on the island usually known for its peace and tranquility. Recent torrential rains brought floods and landslides in some areas, adding to the burdens for communities working to rebuild their tourism businesses. When the situation started to improve, Yuliani Djajanegara, who runs a business making traditional beauty items like massage oils, natural soaps and aromatherapy products under the brand name Bali Tangi, got back to work. She had closed her factory in 2020 when orders from hotels, spas and salons in the U.S., Europe, Russia and the Maldives dried up, taking orders for her products from more than 1,000 kilograms (1 ton) to almost nothing. So far, Djajanegara has rehired 15 of the 60 workers she had been obliged to lay off during the dark days of the pandemic. She's hopeful, but cautious. “Tourism in Bali is like a sand castle," Djajanegara said. “It is beautiful, but it can be washed away by the waves.”
Bandarban district administration has further extended the temporary ban on tourism at Ruma, Rowangchhari, Alikadam and Thanchi upazilas till November 8 as part of high security measure. A public notice regarding the extension was issued from Bandarban Deputy Commissioner’s office on Friday following a letter from Bandarban Cantonment. The travel ban on domestic and foreign tourists has been extended as the law enforcement agencies will conduct patrol and continue intelligence activities in the district against suspected militants, said the notice. This is the fourth such restricttion imposed for safety of tourists amid anti-militancy drive in the district's remote forested areas. On October 29, the tourism ban in the upazilas was extended till today (Friday). Read more: Ban on tourism in Bandarban’s 4 upazilas extended till Nov 4 The administration imposed the temporary restriction on visitors in Ruma and Rowangchhari upazilas on October 18 morning. On October 23, the local administration discouraged tourists from traveling to Thanchi and Alikadam upazilas due to the same reason. Read more: Temporary ban on tourism at Rowangchhari and Ruma to fight ‘militants and criminals’ From October 10, law enforcement agencies started a joint drive against the underground extremists and criminals in the district.