Tourist ships started travelling to St. Martin's island from Cox's Bazar on Tuesday.
After a seven-month break the Kerry Cruise and Dine with 310 tourists left Damdamia of Teknaf at 9 am and arrived at St. Martin's dock around 12.30 pm.
As soon as they reached the island, locals greeted the tourists with flowers led by St. Martin’s Union Parishad Chairman Nur Ahmed.
Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Parvez Chowdhury said that at the beginning of the season, the Kerry Cruise and Dine Ship Authority had been given permission to operate the St. Martin's-Teknaf route on a trial basis. On the first day, 310 passengers reached the island.
He added that the island's jetty has been renovated to make it easier for tourists to get on and off. Within a day or two, other ships in this route may also start operating subject to permission.
Tabassum Jannat, a student at Sylhet Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, said: "It feels so good to be here, everyone will enjoy the beauty of the coral island again."
The hotels and motels on the island have already been set up for tourists. Businessmen involved in the tourism industry have prepared themselves to serve tourists. Besides, the islanders who depend on tourists for their livelihood are now breathing a sigh of relief.
Nur Ahmed, chairman of the St. Martin's Union Council, said, “Businessmen and locals have already been requested to provide maximum service and hospitality to the tourists. Moreover, care will be taken to ensure that tourists are not harassed anywhere.”
Shah Alam, Teknaf's manager for the cruise ship Kerry Cruise and Dine, said excessive capacity of passengers is not being carried as per the instructions of the concerned authorities and extra ticket price is not being charged from the passengers. "We want tourists to come to the island, to give the tourism industry a chance to develop further through travelling. We expect more tourists to visit the island this year than any other," he added.