Sundarbans set to reopen for tourists Sept 1
After nearly five months of closure due to the Covid restrictions, the Forest Department is reopening the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and a Unesco World Heritage Site, for tourists from tomorrow.
The decision was taken at a meeting between the Forest Department and the Tour Operators Association of Sundarbans, Khulna, on Sunday, said M Nazmul Azam David, the general secretary of the association.
However, it won't be business as usual as the Forest Department has given some rules and conditions before reopening the forest for tourists.
Mihir Kumar Do, forest conservator, Khulna region, said the Sundarbans will be opened to tourists from September 1 following the "Sundarbans Travel" policy approved by the cabinet.
"Each launch cannot carry more than 75 passengers. Social distance and hygiene must be
maintained. Appropriate sanitiser should be provided," he said, referring to some of the new rules and conditions to be followed.
"The Forest Department will take legal action against any tour operator carrying more tourists or disturbing the environment by violating the policy," he added.
The government restricted tourist gatherings in the Sundarbans on March 26 last year amid the first Covid restrictions in the country.
Tourism did resume for a period from November 1, 2020 when the situation improved. However, the government had to re-impose the ban again on April 3 due to the deteriorating Covid situation.