Travel agents in the Maldives apologise and want to restore relations with India.

Travel agents in the Maldives apologise and want to restore relations with India.

Jan 09 Travel Standard

As part of the 'Boycott Maldives' movement, Maldivian tour operators sincerely apologize for leaders' disparaging comments about Prime Minister Modi. To mitigate any potential damage on tourism, the Maldives Association of Travel Agents is pleading for better ties with India. This appeal comes after an Indian online travel company, showing support for India, suspended flight reservations to the Maldives. Good relations are vital to the island nation's tourism business.

On January 6, three deputy ministers at the Maldives youth ministry made derogatory and racist statements when Prime Minister Modi uploaded images and a video of his visit to the pristine Lakshadweep Islands on India's west coast to X. This sparked outrage.

"Due to recent events, tourism—which accounts for almost two-thirds of the Maldives' GDP and 44,000 jobs—faces serious consequences. MATATO acknowledges a dark cloud over relations between India and the Maldives and apologizes for disparaging remarks in a letter to the CEO of an online travel company."

"The ties between our two countries transcend politics; we regard our Indian counterparts as beloved brothers and sisters. More than 2,09,198 Indians traveled to the Maldives in 2023, accounting for a sizeable portion of the country's 18 lakh visitors, after Chinese and Russian visitors," the source said.

In 2022, approximately 2.4 lakh Indian tourists visited the Maldives, compared to 2.11 lakh tourists in 2021.
Amidst the pandemic, the Maldives emerged as a rare destination for foreign travelers, welcoming over 63,000 Indian visitors during that time.
"We firmly believe that collaborative efforts and open communication are essential in preserving friendly relations, facilitating trade, and encouraging cultural exchanges between our nations to remain strong and unhindered," the letter stated.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu calls on China to increase tourism amid a diplomatic spat. In an effort to promote goodwill and clear up misconceptions, MATATO highlights the significance of the Indian market in maintaining the Maldives tourism industry.


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