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.

a beach with a hut and a group of palm treesThe 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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. We arrived at MLE from AUH the day the state of emergency was declared after he sent troops to seal off Parliament and arrested the two Supreme Court justices. We didn’t notice a thing though we didn’t stay in Male. Later, the GM at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa showed us a letter he received from the minister of tourism assuring him all was well and tourists were absolutely welcome and safe. He told us he’d received many calls from guests with upcoming reservations who were worried but didn’t indicate any had cancelled. Apparently President Yameen does this sort of thing quite regularly to keep his rivals in line.

  2. The Maldives are not and never were unsafe. I’m here now and as far as I know there was only peaceful demonstrations ever. What a shame for such a beautiful place, with beautiful incredible people that such silliness impacted their livelihoods. People that cancelled are so fickle and scared of ridiculous things, while often not looking at the dangers of where they actually reside every single day. You can’t keep me away… my favourite place on earth. By a long shot.

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