The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) has issued a strong condemnation of the derogatory comments made by some of the government’s deputy ministers towards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India. This move comes amidst growing tensions and a call for boycott from a member of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

MATI emphasised the importance of India as a close neighbour and ally, acknowledging India’s significant contributions to the Maldives, especially in the tourism sector, which has been crucial for the nation’s recovery post-COVID-19. With India being one of the top markets for Maldivian tourism, MATI expressed its desire to maintain and cherish the long-standing relationship between the two countries.

Conversely, the Aviation and Tourism Committee of the ICC, led by Chairman Dr Subhash Goyal, has made a strong appeal to Indian tourism and aviation sectors to cease promoting and operating in the Maldives. This call for boycott comes in response to the perceived anti-India sentiment expressed by Maldivian ministers. Dr Goyal urged industry members to redirect tourism inquiries to alternative destinations like Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, as well as other Indian Ocean destinations like Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bali, and Phuket.

Following the diplomatic rift between India and the Maldives, EaseMyTrip, a prominent Indian travel company, has decided to suspend all flight bookings to the Maldives. 

Nishant Pitti, CEO of EaseMyTrip, confirmed the suspension of services to the Maldives in an interaction with news agency ANI. Prashant Pitti elaborated on the decision, mentioning, “…Our company is entirely homegrown and made in India. Amid the row over Maldives MP’s post on PM Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep, we have decided that we will not accept any bookings for Maldives…We want Ayodhya and Lakshadweep to turn out as international destinations…”

The movement to boycott the Maldives seems to be gaining momentum, with the Indian Association of Tour Operators anticipating a more pronounced effect of the boycott in the next 20-25 days.