Maldives’ political unrest invites momentary decline in tourism

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The government of Maldives has declared a 15-day state of emergency starting February 5, 2018, which has led many countries to restrain travelers from visiting the island nation.

A political upheaval followed after Maldives’ Supreme Court ruled the release of a group of opposition politicians last week along with the decision that the trial of the former President Mohamed Nasheed (now living in exile) was unconstitutional. The government of President Abdulla Yameen refused the court’s decision, and further escalated the political crisis by arresting the chief justice of the Supreme Court Abdulla Saeed along with another judge without any specific charges, hours after the declaration of the state of emergency.

Yameen has been urged to follow the orders of the Supreme Court by The United Nations, European Union and foreign governments including the UK, India and the USA. Following the political turmoil and the 15-day state of emergency, India, China, Australia, and the USA have advised tourists to avoid travelling to the island nation until the situation resolves.

Maldives is known among travelers as a paradise destination that boasts the natural beauty of 26 coral atolls and 1,192 individual islands, blue oceans, white beaches and clean air. With a population of around 400,000, the country’s economic construct sees tourism as a major occupation. Activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and diving along the beach have been among the attractions favored in the country.

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