International

Amid Dipping Indian Tourists' Footfall, Maldives To Hold Road Shows In India To Woo Visitors Back

The number of Indian tourists to the island nation has been on the decline since the diplomatic row with India that triggered a Maldives versus Lakshadweep campaign.

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According to tourism arrival statistics, from being a top visitor country, India’s went to the first position and then to the sixth after January. Photo: File image
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Months after its ministers' remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lakshadweep trip sparked a diplomatic row with India, the Maldives seems to be now wanting to woo Indian tourists back to its islands with a major tourism body in Male announcing that it will hold road shows across key Indian cities.

The number of Indian tourists to the island nation has been on the decline since the diplomatic row with India that triggered a Maldives versus Lakshadweep campaign.

The Maldives drew flak following derogatory remarks against India and PM Modi on social media by three Maldivian officials after the prime minister posted photos and video of the pristine Lakshadweep Islands on India’s west coast on January 6 on his X handle.

Scores of Indians, including multiple celebrities, cancelled their reservations and dropped plans to visit Maldives in a show of support to the country.

The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) is learnt to have held discussions with India's High Commissioner in Male, Munu Mahawar, on enhancing travel and tourism cooperation between the two countries.

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, according to a report by the Sun.mv news portal.

“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,” news agency PTI quoted Sun.mv news portal citing 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,” the statement said.

According to tourism arrival statistics, from being a top visitor country, India’s went to the first position and then to the sixth after January.

According to the statistics by the Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism, this year as of April 10, of the total 6,63,269 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).

Earlier before this diplomatic row erupted, Maldives 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 also 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.

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