'Increasing MNDF alert level is beneficial for tourism' - Minister

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has stated that the tourism industry will advance further with the increase in Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)'s alert level.

MNDF raised the alert status of the defence force to 'Yellow-2' from 19 hrs on Tuesday. Usually, the level is used in situations where the defense forces believe the country's peace is at risk, or when such intel has been received. However, MNDF had later revealed that the status level was raised as a precaution and not due to a specific threat.

Speaking at a news conference held by the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday, Minister Ali Waheed said the government decided to take such a precaution following extensive discussion between the cabinet and the heads of defense forces, and based on technical advice. Minister Waheed said the decision was made to ensure the safety of tourists visiting the Maldives.

The minister pointed out that the ideologies of people across the world are changing, and such changes have to be considered and adopted in making the policies of the country. In this regard, ensuring that tourists are assured of their safety while in the Maldives will bring advancement to the tourism sector, said Ali Waheed.

"This will take Maldivian tourism industry to new heights. Protecting the main pillar of our economy, the tourism industry, will bring us advancement. We believe ensuring the safety and protection [of tourists] will bring protection and development to the tourism sector," said the minister.

Ali Waheed added that even if the previous administrations hid some things from the public, the current administration intends to be open and transparent. No islands or lagoons have been leased to any parties for tourism in secret, he said.