On February 5th, President Abdullah Yameen issued a state of emergency for the idyllic, untouched vacation paradise known as The Maldives. Turmoil between President Yameen and powerful political dissidents had created uprising and unrest – and though vacation life on the remote island resorts was largely unaffected, the city of Malé was thrust into riots. No one likes hearing the words “state of emergency”, especially when shelling out for top Maldivian resorts and in the following weeks, tourism numbers plummeted. President Yameen has now officially ended the state of emergency, signaling a return to business as usual for weary travelers.

The Backstory

President Abdullah Yameen has been accused of overstepping his presidential powers by imprisoning or punishing former rules and dissidents. The supreme court of the Maldives briefly allowed these crackdowns on opposition, before appealing their decision. Protestors took to the streets of Malé to make their voices heard and a state of emergency was declared. The initial emergency was scheduled to end February 20th, but was since extended – until yesterday.

Lifting The State Of Emergency

Despite very little change in the present turmoil status quo, President Abdullah Yameen has lifted the 45 day state of emergency affecting the Maldives. President Yameen cited a desire “to promote normalcy” at the advice of his national security agency. Protests have been banned during the period, and outside of the city of Malé very little unrest has been seen. The move is undoubtedly a move to signal “business as usual” for tourists.

30% Tourism Drop

The Maldives is one of the most tourism dependent nations in the world. In fact, it’s actually number one. Many of the top resorts in the country experienced record breaking cancellations, directly along the timeline of the state of emergency. A 30% tourism decline has been cited, with resorts losing as many as 50 room bookings per night, primarily from travelers originating from China and India. For any country, unrest is not a positive thing, but when your livelihood depends on it, stability is crucial. We’re glad the Maldives is back to business. After all, there are few places on earth – if any, which can rival it’s natural beauty (or ultra luxe resorts).

Will this impact your decision to return to the Maldives?

HT: Reuters

Featured image courtesy of Ja Manafaru Maldives.