NEW DELHI: Travel agents and tour operators said the unrest in Maldives has had little impact on bookings and trips of Indian travellers and is unlikely to impact leisure travel much as the ministry of tourism of Maldives has issued a statement mentioning that all tourism related businesses and airports are operating as usual and that the state of emergency does not force any restrictions on travelling to and within the Maldives.
According to industry estimates, around 60, 000 Indians travel to Maldives every year and October to March being the peak season currently 4500 Indian tourists are estimated to be present at the island nation.
The ministry stated: “All international airports including the Velana international airport and all domestic airports, tourist resorts, hotels, guesthouses, tourist accomodating vessels, marinas are in full operation.”
The ministry of external affairs in India had issued an advisory for Maldives asking Indians to avoid non essential travel.
“We have contacted our customers there and there doesn’t seem to be any problem as of now and there haven’t been any cancellations as the Maldives government has issued a statement. We are offering the option of other destinations to travellers as well,” said Sharat Dhall, COO, B2C at Yatra.com.
Viraat Raj Bhalla, MD of Delhi based Orange Tourism said he has not received any complaints from existing travellers. “The entire political scenario is unfolding in Male. Other islands are a bit far removed from Male. Everything is going fine. We continue to get bookings and there haven’t been any cancellations.” Orange Tourism handles about 8000-9000 Indian travellers to Maldives in a year.
Though Balu Ramachandran, head of air and distribution at Cleartrip said with the government’s move asking people to avoid all non essential travel will lead to a massive disruption for travellers.
“More than 70% of travellers booking on Cleartrip for Maldives are tourists travelling for leisure. Maldives has seen an emergence as an important destination for honeymooners and couples. October – March is considered the peak season for Maldives, and the emergency declaration has resulted in a significant amount of enquiries for rescheduling, cancellation and additional assistance.”