No SOE fallout on Maldives tourism as arrivals rise

The expected fallout on Maldives tourism by the declaration of the state of emergency failed to materialize as the luxury tropical island destination recorded an 18.5 percent increase in tourist arrivals last month, government statistics have shown.

The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdulla Gayoom on February 5 had declared state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

The tourism industry had been hit with declining occupancy during the state of emergency.

In addition to China, several countries including India, US, Europe, UK had issued varying degrees of travel advisories to their citizens following the turmoil in the luxury tropical island destination.

However, similar to the upward trend in February, statistics show that a total 133,466 tourists had visited the Maldives last month which is an 18.5 percent increase from the same period last year.

Despite the stark travel advisories during the period, Europe continued to dominate the arrivals and had registered a 33 percent increase from last year.

The only decline was from the Asia Pacific region while the slowdown in Chinese tourists also continued with 72,539 arrivals compared to the marginally higher 73,135 last year.