Kaashidhoo MP and prominent businessman Abdulla Jabir has said the Maldives' tourism and the economy would be negatively impacted if exaggerated rumors are spread regarding Russian and other yachts that dock at the Maldives.
Several yachts belonging to Russian tycoons are docked in the Maldives, and some reports say more superyachts are on the way to the Maldives to escape the various sanctions being imposed on Russia following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. While Russia is the Maldives' top source market for tourists, the number of tourists visiting the archipelago has declined significantly.
MP Jabir on Saturday said while the Maldives' economy depends on tourists and the archipelago is known for its hospitality, spreading false news regarding the Maldives' treatment of Russians is not acceptable. He said that claiming that the Maldives seizes the assets and detain the vessels of Russian tycoons that visit the country, and ill-treat guests is the worst thing anyone can do. While such actions would affect tourism and the economy, the government and the Parliament must stay vigilant regarding such actions, he said.
'What we do is try to serve them the best and make space for them at our best ports. Yacht Tours is ready to provide assistance; we have peaceful ports. It is a bad move to spread lies and say we are taking action against them while this is not the case,' said Jabir.
Adding further that while the Maldives cannot properly tend to the expensive 'Arumaaz' yacht, Jabir said the Maldives would have to take on further financial burdens if expensive yachts and vessels are kept in the Maldives on the order of certain parties.
'These yachts always travel to the Maldives. Some are learning only now that some yachts are heading this way amid a war. There is no point in having a tourism industry if we [falsely] speak about how we mistreat our guests and take action against them. This is the time to establish the facilities needed to cater to them,' he said.