The discount offers and special packages are helping the resorts attract more guests
People's yearning for a breath of fresh air after months of working from home and shutdown has become a blessing for resort owners.
With some resorts advertising attractive discount offers, many establishments are now welcoming more guests following their reopening in July.
Most of the luxury resorts near Dhaka are booked for this month with an average occupancy of 30-40 %, according to industry insiders.
However, given that this is the off-season for travellers, the guest occupancy rate is not the same as before.
Still, industry insiders anticipate a fairly hectic period in winter, which is the peak season for travelling.
The standard operating procedure (SOP) formulated by the Bangladesh Tourism Board has allowed tourist spots to resume services under the condition of hosting fewer visitors to ensure social distancing.
However, the resorts began reopening after the withdrawal of general holidays and the operators claimed they were maintaining health guidelines and following the SOP.
Gazipur has the maximum number of resorts amongst the districts. There are 76 registered and several unregistered resorts in Gazipur, according to the district administration.
Sarah Resort, designed with luxury facilities in Gazipur's Bhawal Rajbari, has offered a 30% discount for October.
A single-night stay at the resort will cost a couple Tk11,500 to Tk14,500, which includes lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
"Now we are only offering night-stay packages with a discount. We are at capacity for this month," said Tahmid Bin Shahriar, sales and reservation officer at Sarah Resort.
We have around 40% guests on Friday and 30% on weekdays. However, the guest occupancy is now 50% compared to last year
"We have around 40% guests on Friday and 30% on weekdays. However, the guest occupancy is now 50% compared to last year."
Nokkhottrobari, one of the pioneers of Gazipur's resort industry, is located in Sreepur. The resort is a project of actors Tauquir Ahmed and Bipasha Hayat. Although the resort has not offered any discounts, it too has an occupancy of around 40%.
Nokkhottrobari's Assistant Manager Mehedi Hasan said, "Most guests come just before the weekend. We are discouraging day packages amidst the pandemic."
Chuti Resort of Gazipur's Joydebpur opened on 25 July.
Abul Hossain Aabir, the resort's head of sales, said: "We are welcoming guests for both day-long and night-stay packages. But the guest flow is now 20-25%."
Resorts away from Dhaka
According to the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, there are over 200 resorts across the country, especially in the areas near the capital – Gazipur, Narayanganj and Narsingdi.
Narail's Arunima Resort Golf Club resumed operation on 1 June. The resort has 40 cottages, but has kept only 20 open to maintain social distancing.
"Although the volume of guests is not the same as last year, we are happy that at least people are coming amidst the pandemic," Arunima Resort Managing Director Irfan Ahmed said.
"We are rearranging our packages and offering a discount of up to 50%. And the guest occupancy is now fluctuating from 30-40%."
Meanwhile, the flow of travellers to Cox's Bazar has improved since the tourism city reopened on 17 August.
The city's Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort and Spa is now offering a 50% discount.
Sanaul Haque, duty manager of the resort, said they now have an average occupancy of 60%. "However, the guest flow has been crossing 90% during the weekends."
The hilly sites of greater Chattogram are also attracting tourists, and many are contacting resorts for a booking.
I thought I would stay in the premier room in the best resort of Sajek Valley. But when I called a few resorts, some of them said all of their rooms were booked for the whole month
"I thought I would stay in the premier room in the best resort of Sajek Valley. But when I called a few resorts, some of them said all of their rooms were booked for the whole month," Jafreen Jahan, a housewife from Dhaka's Kallyanpur, said.
However, Ching Swe Rakhain, manager of Bandarban's Venus Resort, said: "We can accommodate 80 guests at a time. The guest flow is below par currently. I hope the business will recover in the coming months."
Bangladesh's resort industry started to grow in 2010. Resort owners said corporate groups, professionals and couples constitute their main guests.
The growing economy of the country and the rising purchasing power of consumers have made the industry commercially viable.