Hotelier ‘frustrated by over-dramatisation’ of Maldives state of emergency

Published on Saturday, February 10, 2018

Tourism in the Maldives is continuing as normal, with no signs of the government-imposed state of emergency on the beaches, at the airport or in resorts, according to a UK hotelier based out there.

Andrew Ashmore, group head of sales and marketing for Coco Collection Hotels and Resorts, told TravelMole he wanted to set the record straight about the situation.

He said: “Locally everything is as normal. There aren’t any demonstrations. Shops are open. The airport is rammed with people.

There’s not even a curfew. There’s no military presence. There’s no violence.

“This afternoon at 5pm we were walking on the beach. It was wonderful. A real mix of locals and tourists, including Chinese. It’s a very nice atmosphere.”

Ashmore, who works in the capital, Male, added: “There’s been an over-dramatisation in press reports and we’ve had emails from people saying they are worried.

“We’re replying that it’s absolutely fine. We’ve had two or three cancellations. It’s a bit frustrating, but what can we do?”

He added: “The good thing is that not one operator has come to me and said they are worried about the situation.  They know how tourism in the Maldives works – people arrive and are whisked away on a speed boat.

“Most of our key UK operators know this and I’ve not had one comment from any of our partners.

“Yesterday I had meetings with an operator who has spent 10 days going in and out of Male and into the resorts. Not once has this conversation come up.”

Along with Germany, the UK is the second-biggest market for the Maldives. On average, 11,000 travellers from each country visit every month.

China is the biggest market by far, with 26,000-28,000 visitors to the islands each month.

Ashmore added: “It’s peak season now. All the flights coming in are full. The hotels are running at over 90% every day.”

His mirror that of Kuoni, which told TravelMole last week resorts were operating as normal, people were continuing with their holidays and there had been no cancellations.

The 15-day state of emergency was declared on Monday, February 5, in response to unrest that began when President Abdulla Yameen refused to obey a court order to release political dissidents.

The FCO advises British holidaymakers to exercise caution but said there were no reports that outlying islands, resorts or Male International Airport have been affected.




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