Maldives state of emergency ‘should not concern tourists’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Latest, LIFE, News

Maldives state of emergency ‘should not concern tourists’

Posted: Nov 5, 2015 at 10:32 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A newly imposed state of emergency should not affect holidaymakers in the Maldives, though cancellations are expected.

Tourists visiting the Maldives have been told that a state of emergency, declared by the country’s president ahead of a large anti-government rally, should not affect their holiday.

President Abdulla Yameen has imposed a 30-day state of emergency across the whole country limiting the constitutional freedoms of locals to meet and travel, and increasing powers of arrest.

The Foreign Office has told British travellers, however, that there will be no restrictions on tourist movements and that holiday resorts are “unlikely to be significantly affected.”

A statement from the Maldives’ ministry of tourism said: “The Ibrahim Nasir International Airport and all domestic airports, tourist resorts, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, tourist accommodating vessels (safari boats), marinas are in full operation. International and domestic flights, sea plane operations and all modes of transport are in operation.

“Public safety is of paramount importance and the government assures the safety of the destination.”

The state of emergency follows the arrest of the country’s vice president on October 24 and allegations of an assassination plot against the president. An explosion aboard Yameen’s speedboat on September 28 wounded his wife and two others.

The Maldivian National Defence Force also said this week that it had found and defused a remote-controlled bomb near the president’s official residence.

Tourists, who generally pass their time in an isolated bubble in on one of the country’s numerous island resorts, reached by seaplane from the country’s capital Male, are not being advised to change their travel plans. But the move may put some off visiting and further tarnish the country’s reputation as a peaceful honeymoon destination.

“This hasn’t happened for a very long time and details about the state of emergency are very sketchy,” said a representative from the campaign group Ethical Maldives, who asked to remain anonymous. “But visitors should be warned that there is a large protest planned.

Maldives state of emergency 'should not concern tourists'

Tourism has up until now remained robust

“There is also lots of police activity taking place in Male, with people’s homes being raiding. I’m concerned because tourists tend to spend a lot of money during Christmas and New Year. I spoke to a local hotelier who said the industry could be at breaking point if they don’t hit 55 – 60 per cent occupancy, which they need during this period