Maldives' state of emergency affects tourism sector

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Maldives' state of emergency affects tourism sector

February 26, 2018 - 13:06
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Maldives' current state of emergency has led to a drop in tourism figures as prospective overseas visitors change their travel plans, affecting businesses in the island nation.

Blue Force tells X-Ray Magazine that all operations are running normally and are unaffected by the state of emergency

The current state of emergency in the Maldives has been extended by another 30 days. It has been in place since February 5th and, alongside the civil unrest in the capital Malé, has severely affected its tourism sector.

The Liveaboard Association of Maldives recently issued a press statement expressing deep concern of how the island nation’s state of emergency has affected its tourism sector.

Tour operators and local guesthouses have received booking cancellations in significant numbers that have led to serious loss of income for several businesses. A charter flight direct from Europe due to begin operations in May was even cancelled.

In addition, several countries have issued travel advisories cautioning their citizens about travelling to the Maldives. One of them is China, whose citizens accounted for 22 percent of Maldives’ tourism numbers in 2017.

On AVAS Online, an owner of a hospitality business was quoted as saying, “Several bookings from China has been cancelled already, and an investment from a Chinese entrepreneurship has been cancelled as well. No one is willing to fly here because of the state of emergency. Who would want to risk it anyways?”

According to a travel agency owner, cancellations from China hit particularly harder than from those in other countries as China bookings usually comprise more than 30 travellers, compared to European bookings of mostly four travellers.

Nevertheless, despite the extended state of emergency, the dive operators and liveaboards we spoke to say that all their operations are running normally and that none of their guests have been affected by the goings-on in the capital.

The same goes for the luxury hotels operating in the island nation, which are located far from the capital of Malé, where the unrest is taking place. All airports in the Maldives, both international and domestic, are operating as per normal.