As Muizzu Asks China To ‘Send More Tourists’, Maldives Tourism Body Extends ‘Sincere Apology’ To India

Top Maldives Operators body MATATO said the recent events have cast a somber shadow on the relationship between India and Maldives and extended its 'sincere apologies for the hurt caused by these remarks.'


Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu.

A top tour and travel operators body of Maldives on Tuesday sought rapprochement of relations with India to avert a “potential adverse impact” on the country's tourism which it said is the "lifeblood" of the island nation.

The letter comes the day after diplomatic row escalated between India and Maldives over derogatory comments against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi by three Maldivian ministers, following his post on Lakshadweep. The three Maldivian ministers had inferred that PM Modi’s move was an attempt to present Lakshadweep as an alternate tourist destination to Maldives.

The derogatory post against India and PM Modi generated ire among the Indian people with many including sports legends and Bollywood celebrities calling for boycott of trips to the island nation.


Nishant Pitti, the CEO of India based online travel booking platform—EaseMyTrip had also announced to cancel all bookings to Maldives.

He had announced the suspension of all flight bookings to the island nation on its website in solidarity with the nation.

MATATO letter:

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) in a letter addressed to Pitti extended "sincere apology" for the hurt caused by the derogatory remarks by some of its deputy ministers against the Indian Prime Minister and Indians.

“Tourism stands as the lifeblood of the Maldives, contributing over two-thirds of our GDP and providing livelihoods to approximately 44,000 Maldivians who work directly in the tourism sector. The potential adverse impact on tourism holds the power to unleash severe repercussions on our economy, affecting the lives and well-being of many,” the letter stated. 


It added the recent events have cast a somber shadow on the relationship between India and Maldives and extended its “sincere apologies for the hurt caused by these remarks.”

“We want you to know that the bonds connecting our nations transcend politics. We consider our Indian counterparts not just as business associates but as cherished brothers and sisters,” the letter stated.

It added: “We firmly believe that collaborative efforts and open communication are essential in preserving friendly relations, facilitating trade, and encouraging cultural exchanges between our nations to remain strong and unhindered,” it. 

Stating that MATATO recognises the “strategic alliances we hold with our Indian counterparts,” the letter further said, it understands that these relationships “extend beyond the professional realm” and “serve as a testament to the enduring friendship and partnership between our two nations.”

Reiterating that the Indian market remains “an indispensable force in the success of the Maldivian tourism sector,” providing vital support to guest houses and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that depend on the influx of Indian visitors, MATATO said it humbly seeks “assistance and support” in fostering positive relations and dispelling any misunderstandings that may have arisen.

It also urged Pitti to reopen EaseMyTrip flights to Maldives.

Muizzu's appeal to China:

The letter came at a time when Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu on Tuesday appealed to China, during his visit there, to “intensify” efforts to send more tourists to his country after the diplomatic row.