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Maldives steps up efforts to prevent tourist drownings

Authorities have stepped up efforts to strengthen measures and increase awareness among tourists to the luxury island destination with a spate of fatal drownings in recent months.

A tourism ministry official said authorities were closely working with the China embassy in the Maldives to prevent such tragedies as most of the drowning victims were from China.

"We've seen tourists drown in just three feet of water. Or even in the swimming pool. So we will do more to raise awareness with the embassy. We've got a lot of visitors in the last three months. Maybe that's why there's an increase in such incidents," the official said.

In the past six months, seven tourists have drowned in the Maldives with two reported already this year.

Despite accusations to the contrary, the official refused to believe that slack safety measures at resorts were to blame for the increase in drownings.

"If you look at across the world, the resorts in the Maldives are top notch. Such standard is not only measured in the rooms or the linen. If you consider the safety standards and service, Maldives would be right up there among the very best," the official added.

"But these incidents are happening. Resorts continue to brief their guests. I believe if there is a slack in safety measures, these incidents would be much higher."

The official said some tourists ignore instructions on safety measures which result in such tragedies.

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