The trial run of Focus Point, cruising through the Bangabandhu Tunnel, was conducted yesterday, seizing the tourism potential surrounding South Asia’s first underwater tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River.
Commercial operations for the service are set to commence next week, featuring two buses equipped with modern amenities, available exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays.
The much-anticipated Bangabandhu Tunnel, inaugurated on 28 October, has unlocked a realm of new possibilities, attracting thousands of daily visitors from various parts of the country.
Enthusiastic sightseers yearn for the unique experience of traversing the tunnel, starting their journey after passing Patenga Beach and crossing the river, ultimately reaching Parki Beach in Anwara.
In the Parki Beach area, a wave of development is underway, with new restaurants, resorts, and parks in the construction phase, strategically positioned to harness the tourism potential ignited by the tunnel.
However, the tunnel can only be experienced through a limited number of passenger buses.
Addressing this limitation, Focus Point emerges as a solution, providing an opportunity for everyone to witness the tunnel firsthand and indulge in the amenities crafted around this remarkable infrastructure.
The tour service is operating under the slogan “Bangladesh will see Chattogram,” said Ashraful Islam, the owner of Focus Point.
“We aim to enhance Chittagong’s tourism appeal for Bangladeshis, offering a seamless and enjoyable exploration of attractions through our unique bus journey,” Ashraful added.
Meanwhile, the Chattogram district administration is planning to extend the currently operating tourist bus service running from Tiger Pass to Patenga to Parki Beach through Bangabandhu Tunnel.
Deputy Commissioner Abul Bashar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman stated that four air-conditioned buses are now operational for tunnel travel.
“However, open-top buses are currently restricted by tunnel authorities. Approval is being pursued, and if unsuccessful, the plan is to enhance the tourist bus service with regular buses,” he said.
Focus Point route
The tour bus will embark on its journey from Tiger Pass in Chattogram city at 9am, with the first stop at Bayezid Link Road. A 30-minute break is allocated for tourists to explore and take pictures.
Continuing its route, the bus will proceed to Faujdarhat DC Park, granting tourists an hour to enjoy boating on the park’s serene lake and immerse themselves in the newly cultivated flower gardens.
Next on the itinerary is a scenic drive from DC Park via Marine Drive to Patenga Beach, offering tourists an hour to revel in the beauty of the Bay of Bengal’s shoreline.
The journey will then take a captivating turn through the Bangabandhu Tunnel, swiftly crossing the Karnaphuli River within a few minutes. The bus will later halt at the expansive sandy expanse of Parki Beach, adorned by lush greenery.
Following a leisurely break on the beach, the bus will make its way back to Tiger Pass by 6pm. The return route will be showcased with scenic views of Korean EPZ, Shah Amanat Bridge, Bahaddarhat, and Akhtaruzzaman Flyover.
Upon commercial operation, two buses, each with a capacity of 46 passengers, will operate exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays, said Ashraful Islam.
“We plan to operate up to five buses daily to accommodate extra passengers, and based on tourist demand, we are considering offering the service every day of the week,” he said.
He mentioned that there are options to book an entire bus for group, corporate, or family tours.
The package, priced at Tk490 per person (available online and offline from Sunday to Wednesday), includes breakfast and park entry fees.
Lunch can be optionally ordered during booking, with package reservations requiring a copy or photograph of the national identity card for passenger safety, Ashraful added.