SOS From Maldives: "Come Back India"

The Maldivian Tourism Minister has made an appeal to Indians amidst the steep fall in tourists coming from India, which has hit the tourism industry hard.

By Sam
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Maldives wants Indians to come back and holiday here

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With the steep fall in the number of Indian tourists visiting Maldives, the island nation's tourism minister has urged Indians to start coming back to Maldives. In an interview with PTI Videos, the Maldivian Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal emphasised on the historical relations between his country and India.

"We have a history. Our newly elected government also wants to work together (with India). We always promote peace and a friendly environment. Our people and the government will give a warm welcome to Indian arrivals. As the Tourism Minister, I want to tell Indians to please be a part of Maldives' tourism. Our economy depends on tourism," he said.

Ibrahim Faisal Tourism Minister Maldives
Ibrahim Faisal, Tourism Minister, Maldives

A few months ago, a full-blown backlash was directed at the Maldives following derogatory remarks against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media by three Maldivian ministers. This was after the Prime Minister posted photos and videos of Lakshadweep Islands on India's west coast on January 6 on his X handle.

The Numbers

Thousands of Indians, including celebrities, cancelled their reservations and dropped plans to visit Maldives. The tourism arrival numbers showed from being a top visitor country. Soon India's position went down from topmost to sixth position after January.

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Hardly any Indians go to Maldives

According to a report published on Monday, the number of tourist arrivals from India declined by 42 per cent in the first four months of this year compared to the first four months of last year.

According to the tourism ministry statistics, Maldives recorded a total of 43,991 tourist arrivals from India as of May 4. Between January and April of last year, Maldives recorded 73,785 tourist arrivals. This year, the number stands at 42,638. The steep fall has hit the tourism indusyry of Maldives hard.

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Hotels like these have been hit hard by lack of high spending Indian tourists

The report attributed the steep decline in Indian tourists to the strained relations between India and the Maldives after the new administration led by President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office in November last year.

Relations between India and Maldives have declines as President Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, maintained that he will keep his election promise of evicting Indian military personnel from his country.

After coming to power, Muizzu forced the withdrawal of the 88 Indian military personnel manning three aviation platforms gifted by India to the Maldives. The president has previously accused India of meddling in the affairs of the nation and won the presidential elections in September last year with an "India Out" campaign.

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Chinese tourists have replaced Indians as the No: 1 tourist tribe

The Maldives is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in its initiatives like 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' of the Modi government.

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