Amid declining tourist numbers from India to the Maldives, the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has unveiled plans to conduct roadshows across key Indian cities. This initiative aims to attracts Indian tourists back to the island nation, following strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The decision follows a noticeable decline in Indian tourist arrivals in the Maldives. Discussions between MATATO and India’s High Commissioner, Munu Mahawar, centered on boosting travel and tourism cooperation between the two nations.

This decline in Indian visitors came after a social media backlash when three Maldivian officials made derogatory remarks about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media. This occurred after Prime Minister Modi shared images and videos of the picturesque Lakshadweep Islands on January 6 through his social media platform.

The repercussions led to numerous cancellations of reservations by Indian travelers, including celebrities, causing India’s position to drop down to first fifth and now at the sixth position after January.

Maldives Tourism

According to the statistics by the Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism, this year as of April 10, of the total 6,63,269 tourists arriving, China continued to lead with 71,995, followed by the United Kingdom (66,999), Russia (66,803), Italy (61,379), Germany (52,256) and India (37,417).

Despite these setbacks, Maldives remains keen on attracting Indian tourists. MATATO aims to collaborate closely with the Indian High Commission in the Maldives to enhance tourism initiatives. Plans include comprehensive roadshows and media trips to the Maldives in the upcoming months.

“MATATO expressed its intention to collaborate closely with the Indian High Commission in Maldives to bolster tourism initiatives. Plans are underway to launch a comprehensive roadshow across key cities in India and to facilitate influencer and media familiarisation trips to the Maldives in the forthcoming months,” the tourism body said in a statement.

Recognizing India’s significance as a crucial market for Maldivian tourism, MATATO seeks partnerships with Indian travel associations and industry stakeholders to promote the Maldives as a premier travel destination.

Before the onset of this diplomatic dispute, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, hours after assuming office last November, asked India to withdraw its 88 military personnel from the Maldives, citing concerns over sovereignty. Known for his pro-China stance, President Muizzu declared that following the repatriation of all 88 personnel by May 10, no Indian military personnel, even in civilian attire, would remain stationed in the Maldives.

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