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Maldives tourism body to hold road shows in India to woo visitors back

The tourism arrival statistics reflected how from being a top visitor country, India’s position went down to first fifth and now at the sixth position after January.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with Maldivian president Mohamed Muizzu (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IN an apparent bid to woo Indian tourists back to the Maldives, a major tourism body in Male has announced that it will hold road shows across key Indian cities.

As the number of Indian tourists to the Maldives continues to dwindle, the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) held discussions with the Indian high commissioner in the capital of the archipelago, Munu Mahawar, on enhancing travel and tourism cooperation between the two countries.

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 officials after the Indian leader posted photos and video of the pristine Lakshadweep Islands on India’s west coast on January 6 on his X handle.

Read: Amid diplomatic spat, Modi greets Maldives’ Muizzu on Eid

Scores of Indians, including multiple celebrities, cancelled their reservations and dropped plans to visit Maldives. The tourism arrival statistics reflected how from being a top visitor country in the Maldives, India’s position went down to first fifth and now at the sixth position after January.

According to the statistics by the Maldives’ tourism ministry, this year as of April 10, of the total 663,269 tourists arriving, China continued to lead with 71,995, followed by the United Kingdom (66,999), Russia (66,803), Italy (61,379), Germany (52,256) and India (37,417).

Read: Maldives alarmed as India tourists continue to boycott archipelago

After discussions took place at a meeting held at the Indian high commission in Male, MATATO said in a statement that they expressed their intention to collaborate closely with the Indian High Commission in Maldives to bolster tourism initiatives, Sun.mv news portal reported.

“In this trajectory, plans are currently underway to launch comprehensive road shows across key Indian cities and to facilitate influencer and media familiarisation trips to the Maldives in the upcoming months,” it said quoting from the statement.

“While India remains a crucial tourist market to the Maldives, MATATO states they look forward to partnering with prominent travel associations and industry stakeholders across India to further promote the Maldives as a premier travel destination,” it said.

The association also attributed its meeting with the Indian High Commissioner as “a testament to MATATO’s continued dedication to fostering robust tourism ties between the Maldives and India,” which it said, will pave the way for “transformative collaborations to drive sustainable growth in the region’s tourism sector.”

Earlier before this diplomatic row erupted, Maldivian president Mohamed Muizzu had, within hours of taking oath last November, asked India to withdraw its 88 military personnel from the country, saying their presence was a threat to his country’s sovereignty. Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, has announced that no Indian military personnel, even in civilian clothes, would be present in Maldives after all of 88 personnel are repatriated by May 10.

(With PTI inputs)

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