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A state of emergency has been declared in the Republic of the Maldives. The island nation is one of the most popular luxury travel destinations in the world, offering an endless sea of serenity and seclusion in the Indian Ocean. Recent political turmoil has caused unrest and uncertainty, leaving travelers with one important question: Is it safe to travel to the Maldives?

The Story

Abdulla Yameen, The President of the Maldives is attempting to concentrate political power amidst growing opposition and dissent within the Maldivian government and court systems. The President has limited freedom of speech, drawing international scrutiny and ignored court orders for reinstatement of opposing political figures within his goverment. He’s also jailed a former President. An official state of emergency has been declared for the next 15 days, in response.

Is It Safe?

If you’re going to an atoll resort: for now, yes. The United Kingdom, China and India issued travel warnings overnight, urging caution for the city of Malė, but travelers headed to resorts elsewhere will be largely unaffected. Most visitors are quickly whisked from Malė International Airport, which is presently unaffected – to a nearby boat or sea plane and onto remote locations. Basically, you’ll likely never set food in the potentially tricky areas. If you had plans to, you might just want to re think that part.

Vital Tourism

1.7 million tourists visited the Maldives in 2017. Tourism fuels the atoll nation and is the largest industry by great margin. Maldivian political leadership and much of the ruling class are resort owners themselves, and have no intention of uprooting their booming businesses due to travel uncertainty. Basically: the people in charge here thrive from tourism and cannot afford to lose visitors by causing unrest. This is a vital reason many foreign governments haven’t issued more serious travel warnings.

Should You Go?

This stand off is expected to last less than 15 days. And even if you have imminent travel, most governments are not telling people to cancel. If you have imminent travel plans to the Maldives in the next 30 days, exercise caution – that’s all. Most importantly, follow official advice from your local government regarding Maldives tourism. UK and US resources can be found here. Citizens of other nations should check with their government travel advice resources, for the most up to date information.

Are you visiting the Maldives soon? Does this affect your plans?

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