Maldives Bows to Indian Influence: Indian Tourist Market Dominates Maldives; Roadshows Planned in Indian Cities to Boost Tourism

The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) recently held discussions with Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar on enhancing travel and tourism cooperation between the two nations. 

However, amidst these efforts to bolster ties, a dispute has emerged between India and Maldives. As part of their strategy to attract Indian tourists, Maldives plans to organize roadshows in several Indian cities, but specific details regarding the cities and schedules have not been disclosed yet.

In reality, there has been a decline in the number of Indian tourists visiting Maldives since January, which has drawn significant attention, including critical remarks directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

PM Modi had visited Lakshadweep on January 3, appreciating its natural beauty and tranquility. Following this, discussions for cooperation between Lakshadweep and Maldives began.

However, some ministers from Maldives made derogatory comments against PM Modi and India regarding this cooperation effort.

Country wise data

Maldives Seeks Collaboration with India to Boost Tourism

Following a meeting between MATATO and the Indian High Commissioner, a joint statement has been issued, expressing the intention to initiate roadshows in major Indian cities to attract Indian tourists to the Maldives. The statement further elaborates that efforts are underway to implement plans aimed at connecting influencers with the Maldives in the coming months.

Highlighting the significance of India as a crucial tourist market for the Maldives, the statement underscores the commitment to encourage the Maldives as a primary travel destination. MATATO emphasizes its eagerness to partner with India’s major travel associations and industry stakeholders to foster collaboration in this endeavor.

MATATO Stresses Strong Bonds and Economic Impact of Indian Tourism

On January 9th, MATATO expressed, “Indian people are like brothers and sisters to us. The relationship between India and Maldives runs deep. Our ties go beyond politics. Tourism forms the backbone of Maldivian life. 

This sector contributes significantly to our GDP, providing livelihoods for approximately 44,000 people, solely reliant on tourism. The repercussions of this dispute adversely affect the country’s economy.”

The association further stated, “Indian tourists are crucial for the success of the Maldivian tourism sector. Their presence can boost medium-scale businesses such as guest houses and other facilities. We believe in dialogue and mutual assistance.”

Tourist data

Escalation of Tension Between India and Maldives After January 7th

After January 7th, tensions between India and Maldives escalated significantly. On that day, the hashtag #BoycottMaldives trended on social media platforms in India following Prime Minister Modi’s sharing of a video from his visit to Lakshadweep. 

The video showcased the scenic beauty of Lakshadweep, which is now being seen as a competitive alternative to the Maldives. Consequently, people on social media began expressing that visiting Lakshadweep is a better option than spending hefty amounts to visit the Maldives.

This sentiment led to dissatisfaction among Maldivian ministers and officials. They took to social media to express their displeasure, accusing Prime Minister Modi of using derogatory language in his posts. They also emphasized that in terms of service, India cannot compete with the Maldives.

Modi tweet

Another Cause of Strain in India-Maldives Relations…

On November 15, 2023, the newly elected President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, who is perceived to be aligned with China, took oath. Since then, tensions have risen between India and Maldives. There are three main reasons for this:

Firstly, Mohamed Muizzu reportedly made anti-India remarks during his election campaign.

Secondly, after coming to power, Muizzu ordered the withdrawal of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives.

Thirdly, Maldives announced the termination of a hydrographic survey agreement with India.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.