A group of women bathe at an artificial beach in the Maldives capital Male on February 7, 2018. The Maldives president on February 7 welcomed a Supreme Court move to reinstate the convictions of high-profile political prisoners after he arrested two top judges and declared a state of emergency, plunging the upmarket holiday paradise into chaos. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)


A significant number of tourists have been cancelling their travel plans to Maldives after President Abdulla Yameen imposed a state of emergency in the island nation.

Hundreds of hotel bookings have already been cancelled, tour operators say, despite the government assuring that things are normal in resort islands. “We have had about 50-60 room cancellations per day and the number is consistent since it started. This is the same for all of our properties in the country,” a spokesman for Paradise Island Resort-Villa Group told Reuters.

Travel guidelines

Countries such as China, India, USA and UK issued travel alerts shortly after a state of emergency was announced in Maldives last week. Tourism is a major source of revenue for the country, and a drop in tourists could affect the country’s economy.

China’s warning to its citizens came just days ahead of the Spring Festival, which is a peak period during which Chinese tourists visit Maldives.
The United States had cautioned travelers of further protests in coming days. “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.

 

UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office noted in its travel advisory that outlying islands and the Male International Airport were believed to be unaffected.

India’s external affairs ministry, in a statement, asked all Indian expatriates in Maldives to avoid public gatherings.

“The prevailing political developments in Maldives and the resultant law and order situation is a matter of concern for the government of India,” the statement read. “Indian nationals are, therefore, advised to defer all non-essential travels to Male and other atolls until further notice.”

Independent travel expert Frank Brehany told Express that instead of cancelling bookings, tourists heading to Maldives should assess the situation before taking a decision. “It is vital that holidaymakers become their own ‘risk-assessors’ and ensure they follow several news outlets,” he said, adding that tourists should regularly read “travel review websites, examine Maldivian news services and speak with their travel insurer as they will have access to risk analyses for a given destination.”