Amid a spat between India and the Maldives that started last week over comments made by three ministers about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a prominent Maldives tourism organization has issued a statement to India-based travel website EaseMyTrip about the company. requested that airline ticket bookings to the Maldives be resumed through its platform. Island country.
The Maldives Association of Travel Agents (MATATO) on Tuesday asked EaseMyTrip to ignore the “deplorable” comments, saying the comments “do not reflect the sentiments of Maldivians in general.” The statement, addressed to EaseMyTrip CEO Nishant Pitti, said Indian tourists, who have become the top foreign tourists to the country since COVID-19, are critical to the Maldives economy. He emphasized that.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the enduring friendship and partnership that defines the relationship between the Maldives and India and would like you to know that the ties that bind our countries go beyond politics. I consider them to be important brothers and sisters.”
The Maldives Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association has written to EaseMyTrip CEO Nishant Pitti to resume booking flights to the Maldives. pic.twitter.com/ojCxpPar7b
— Ani (@ANI) January 9, 2024
“Tourism is the lifeblood of the Maldives, accounting for more than two-thirds of GDP and providing livelihoods to approximately 44,000 Maldivians working in this sector. could have a serious impact.”
Matat said Indian tourists are “an essential force in the success of the Maldives’ tourism sector, providing vital support to guesthouses and small and medium-sized enterprises.”
Read | More than 200,000 Indians visit Maldives annually since coronavirus outbreak, data shows
According to the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, more than 200,000 Indians visited the country last year, and more than 4.5 million visited the tropical paradise in the past two years. The Maldives was also one of the few countries to welcome tourists during the pandemic, with nearly 63,000 Indians visiting at the time.
MATATO also called on everyone to “refrain from promoting discord through hateful comments.”
MATATO’s statement follows that of the Maldives Tourism Industry Association (MATI), which condemned the “derogatory comments” against Prime Minister Modi.
EaseMyTrip suspends Maldives reservations
EaseMyTrip on Monday suspended flight bookings through its website.
Read | “Unite…”: EaseMyTrip suspends flight bookings to Maldives amid chaos
Co-founder and CEO Pitti posted a message on X: “In solidarity with our country…” and shared a photo of Modi sitting on a beach in Lakshadweep with the hashtag #ChaloLakshadweep did.
In solidarity with our country, @EaseMyTrip We have suspended all flight bookings to the Maldives ✈️ #TravelUpdate#SupportNation#LakshadweepTourism#Exploring the Indian Islands#Lakshadweep#Exploring the Indian Islands@kishanreddybjp@JM_Scindia@PMO India@tourismgoi@narendramodi@incrediblehttps://t.co/wIyWGzyAZY
— Nishant Pitti (@nishantpitti) January 7, 2024
Maldives president pleads with China to send more tourists
President Mohamed Muiz, widely seen as a pro-China leader, is in China until Friday for a state visit and on Tuesday told Beijing to “intensify” efforts to send more tourists to his country. He appealed.
“China was our country’s (Maldives) largest market before COVID-19. We will step up efforts to help China regain this position,” he said at a meeting of business leaders in the Chinese capital. I request you to do so.”
Read | Maldives president asks China to send more tourists amid standoff with India
Maldivian media subsequently reported that the two countries had signed a $50 million project to develop an integrated tourism zone on the Indian Ocean island.
India – Maldives Row
The conflict between India and the Maldives erupted after three ministers, Marsha Sharif, Maryam Shiuna and Abdullah Masoom Majid, made critical comments about Prime Minister Modi. All three have been suspended, and the Maldives government has called their comments “unacceptable,” but India’s anger has not subsided.
Pressure is also mounting on President Muiz and the three-party ruling coalition, which will hold a general election later this year. Several opposition politicians and political leaders are demanding that he be held accountable, and there is even a possibility that a no-confidence vote will be taken. Former deputy speaker Eva Abdullah told NDTV that Indians were “rightly angry” and former president Ibrahim Solih condemned “hateful language”.
Read | ‘Dismiss president, summon ministers’: Maldivian opposition defends Prime Minister Modi
The comments came after PM Modi posted photos and videos of his trip to Lakshadweep on X, which were seen as promoting the union territory as a rival tourist destination.
The #BoycottMaldives trend took place in X, fueled in part by posts from Bollywood celebrities and cricketers, and interest in the union’s territory skyrocketed.
India’s response has been appreciated. New Delhi summoned the Maldives envoy on Monday, days after the riots, and neither the Prime Minister nor Foreign Minister Jaishankar have yet issued a statement.
Based on opinions from agents
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