The Maldives has been awarded the title of “World’s Leading Island Destination” at the 2013 World Travel Awards Grand Final hosted at the La Cigale Hotel in Doha, Qatar last week.
Dozens of Maldivian activists meanwhile on Monday began flooding the #wtm13 hashtag with images of police brutality and allegations against Villa Hotels owner and presidential candidate, Gasim Ibrahim.
The bill – accepted with a slim majority – would criminalise any calls for a boycott, the supporting or endorsing of a boycott, participation in a tourism boycott, or any act that would incite fear amongst tourists who visit the Maldives.
The Maldives Association for Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has said it remains imperative that competition be introduced within the country’s now-consolidated seaplane industry in order to address fears the resulting monopoly has negatively hit tourism.
The UK, Australia, Canada and China have updated their travel advisories on the Maldives, warning of intensifying political instability and encouraging their nationals to take care, especially in the capital city of Male’.
According to staff at the resort, management has been on a “firing spree” since the conclusion of the first round of elections, while others have been suspended or warned of dismissal. The resort’s General Manager rejected the allegations of politically-motivated sackings.
The Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) has threatened “prolonged” strike action at resorts across the country should the second round of the ongoing presidential election not be held as scheduled on September 28.
Nasheed has called for a tourism strike should the September 28 run-off be delayed. The country’s resort industry association has meanwhile warned of “irreparable consequences” to the economy should the election not be expedited.
The Maldives continues to face huge issues of food security, last year importing 90 percent of all goods consumed, while also being one of the most “oil vulnerable” countries in the world, according to a government report calling for significant economic diversification.