Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO states that efforts to develop and foster India’s Lakshadweep's tourism sector have no expected adverse effect on the Maldives’ tourism industry.
The commencement of the promotion of Lakshadweep by India caused a row among Indians and Maldivians, as many had claimed it would become a setback for Maldives – which has an award-winning tourism industry.
Some Maldivians, including top government officials, had made derogatory comments on social media amid the row.
In a statement released, condemning the act, MATATO said efforts to develop and foster Lakshadweep island’s tourism sector have no discernible negative effect on the Maldives’ tourism industry, adding such development would prove complementary to Maldivian tourism, creating opportunities for both regions.
“The synergies between the two destinations can enhance the overall appeal for travelers and encourage more cruise liners to explore this vibrant and culturally rich region,” the statement read.
They also emphasized the significance of fostering positive ties with all countries including South Asian neighbors, as they believe collaborative efforts and open communication are essential towards ensuring friendly relations, trade and cultural exchanges, and people to people contact between Maldives and its neighbors remain strong and unhindered.
On this note, MATATO underscored the strategic alliances it shares with numerous Indian travel association, conveying their belief in the power of dialogue and mutual support, leveraging these connections to strengthen the ties that bind the nations’ tourism industries.
They further underscored that the Indian market is pivotal to the success of the Maldivian tourism sector, supporting guest houses and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that depend on the influx of Indian visitors.
Emphasizing the s the importance of refraining from hateful comments and calls on all parties to promote messages of unity and cooperation – MATATO encouraged all stakeholders to work towards building bridges rather than walls, fostering an environment where mutual respect and understanding thrive.
They also urged stakeholders to recognize the interconnectedness of the economies and the shared benefits that come from a harmonious relationship between the Maldives and India.
India is one of the top source markets for tourist arrivals to the Maldives.
209,198 Indian tourists visited the country last year – marking the highest number of arrivals by a single market.
Three top government officials who made derogatory remarks against India and the nation’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media have been suspended, after the Maldivian Foreign Ministry assured the government will not hesitate to take action over the matter.
Furthermore, the Ministry said the officials’ remarks were their personal opinions and did not represent the view of the Maldivian government.