Home / Travel / Tourism/ Maldives seek to project calm but tourists told to stay away

Maldives seek to project calm but tourists told to stay away


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 7 February 2018 00:00


AFP: The Maldives on Tuesday sought to reassure tourists they would be safe as governments warned their citizens to steer clear of the troubled honeymoon islands amid a spiralling political crisis. 

India and China advised their holidaymakers against visiting the tropical archipelago after a state of emergency was declared by the regime of embattled President Abdulla Yameen.

Tourism is a key earner for the Maldives but a dramatic confrontation between Yameen and the security forces against the Supreme Court has further eroded its reputation as an idyllic atoll nation. 

Government spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab said no curfew had been declared and the safety of tourists in the upmarket holiday paradise was assured. 

The government would “facilitate calm at a time of national difficulty”, he added. 

But China – the number-one source of tourists for the Maldives – has urged its citizens against visiting the Indian Ocean nation.

The warning from China’s foreign ministry comes ahead of the “Spring Festival” – the peak period for Chinese tourists to visit the Maldives.

“Given the security situation there, we advise the Chinese tourists who are now in the Maldives to closely follow the security situation and enhance self-protection,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing.

“In the meanwhile, Chinese citizens are advised to avoid going to the Maldives until the situation on the ground is stabilised.” India and France and other European nations also advised its citizens against non-essential travel.

The United States advised caution, warning of further protests in coming days across the capital Male “in response to emerging political developments”.

“You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations,” the US embassy in Colombo said in its updated travel advice on Tuesday.

In the latest escalation of the crisis, police clashed with opposition supporters outside the Supreme Court as troops stormed the building to arrest the chief justice and another judge at dawn Tuesday.

Hours earlier, they had arrested the country’s former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after accusing him of orchestrating attempts to topple his estranged half brother Yameen.

President Yameen has refused to comply with a court order to release political prisoners, despite growing international pressure and concern.

Political turbulence under Yameen – who was elected in a controversial run-off in 2013 – has dented the Maldives’ image as an island paradise, but most tourists are insulated from the turmoil in Male.

The airport is a short boat journey from the capital and many visitors are whisked away to resorts on remote, serene islands spread 800 kilometres (550 miles) across the equator.

Nearly 1.4 million foreigners visiting the Maldives last year, up from 1.28 million the previous year.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Relevance of brand valuation?

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Another iconic global business leader has been exposed. Greed, both personal and corporate, it seems is the root cause. This mirrors the conduct of many political leaders around the world. Is it time to have much greater checks on CEOs, may be power-


JVP and minorities: Towards a third way

Thursday, 22 November 2018

As Sri Lanka moves toward a political show down between the UNP and SLFP/SLPP traditional political rivals, there is a third force with great potential strength emerging as a decider in any final outcome, provided that force remains united. By this


Reaching global quality standards through Deming Award

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The importance of quality in the contemporary competitive business environment cannot be over-emphasised. Total Quality Management (TQM)is a company-wide, all pervasive management philosophy, which organisations globally, in many business sectors hav


Ramsar accreditation of Colombo Wetlands: Rebranding Colombo as a Wetland City

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Colombo, once known to be “kolonthota,” has always been identified as a wetland complex at the heart of the Kelani river delta. Today this city is increasingly drying up, with around 20 sq km left as wetlands which continue to be threatened every


Columnists More