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Emergency in Maldives can deal body blow to its tourism industry

NITN | @notintownlive | 09 Feb 2018

Emergency in Maldives can deal body blow to its tourism industry

Male: With its turquoise sea and white sand beaches, Maldives is a magnet for tourists. The island nation derives much of its fund from the tourism sector. However, with the present emergency imposed by its President, the country's tourism industry is expected to suffer badly. A Not In Town report  

Thus far, US, China, India, Singapore and the UK have all urged its citizens to avoid travelling to Maldives, fearing their safety.

According to Independent Member of Parliament Ali Hussain, tourism would be hit badly owing to the government announcement to proclaim Emergency.

"Investors in tourism will be concerned. We already hear of several cancellations," said Hussain speaking to NITN.

While there were already reports of tourists being stranded in Male owing to the turmoil, some sources said Maldivians were denied visa by Germany to attend at the German Travel Mart in Berlin.

Following the Emergency, Singapore has advised its citizens to not travel to Maldives.

"In view of the unstable situation in the Maldives, Singaporeans are advised to defer all non-essential travel to the Maldives until the situation stabilises," Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"Singapore has no diplomatic representation in the Maldives which constrains our ability to extend consular assistance in an emergency," the statement read.

However, for those Singaporeans who are already in Maldives, the government has urged them to avoid public gatherings and protests.

"You should avoid protest and large public gatherings. You should also purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage," the advisory read.

In a similar advisory, the Indian Foreign Ministry office said, "We are disturbed by the declaration of a State of Emergency in the Maldives following the refusal of the Government to abide by the unanimous ruling of the full bench of the Supreme Court on 1 February, and also by the suspension of Constitutional rights of the people of Maldives."

"The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the Government of India. Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings," the MEA statement read.

China, which has lend its support to the Maldives President, has however urged its citizens to cancel their plans for travelling to the island nation.

"China suggests that Chinese citizens who are preparing to go to the Maldives in the near term to postpone going until the situation on the ground stabilises,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday.

The travel ban issued by China is expected to dent Maldives' tourism industry as it coincides with the upcoming Lunar New Year, a peak period for Chinese tourists to visit the Maldives.

According to reports, Britain accounts for approximately 100,000 visitors to Maldives yearly.    

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