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Political problems: the French don’t fantasize on the Maldives anymore

The archipelago’s image is suffering


Trips to the Maldives are going on as usual, despite the protests that took place since the arrest of the president on February 22, 2015. Beyond these events, the destination is less appealing to French travelers, due by an increase of prices, the drop of the euro compared to the dollar, but also a suffering image.



The Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its advices to travelers last week specifying that in the country’s capital “confrontations between the police and protesters are probable” - © Konstantin Kulikov - fotolia.com
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its advices to travelers last week specifying that in the country’s capital “confrontations between the police and protesters are probable” - © Konstantin Kulikov - fotolia.com
Since the arrest of the former president, Mohamed Nasheed, on Sunday, February 22, 2015, the Maldives have been faced with various protests in Malé.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs updated its advices to travelers last week specifying that in the capital “confrontations between the police and protesters are probable.”

Great alertness is recommended when circulating. Mass gathering are to be avoided.”

As a touristic destination popular for its islands, travelers rarely go to Malé. Even the airport is located on an island near the capital.

At Austral Lagons, Hélion de Villeneuve, CEO, is looking closely at how the situation unfolds. “We don’t have any clients in Malé, and we sell zero hotels on the capital.

We keep making our clients travel on the island hotels, there are no problems, everything looks normal,”
he specifies.

The effect of the drop of the euro compared to the dollar

Same story at Turquoise TO. “We haven’t received any particular questions, and on location we haven’t had any negative feedback. Only the excursions in Malé are advised against and we don’t offer them to our clients,” explains the TO.

Same feeling at Exotismes.

However, Hélion de Villeneuve admits that the destination is suffering: “We’re seeing a decrease in demands on the Maldives.

The destination is not part of our primary destinations, it accounts for less than 10% of our business turnover, and comes after Tahiti, the Seychelles, and Mauritius.”


At Exotismes, sales have also “slowed down”, explains Didier Sylvestre, Deputy CEO, “but we’re doing ok” he adds.

Beyond last week’s protests, the decrease of the euro compared to the USD is also a disadvantage to the State.

“The impact is strong” specifies Hélion de Villeneuve, “our margins are degrading, and we’re orienting our clients more towards the Seychelles.”

The image of the Maldives is suffering

Taxes have also made hotel rates increase.

“Various negative elements have accumulated,” summarizes Didier Sylvestre, “and today the quality to price ratio is not as good as before.”

The image of this islamic country is also suffering.

Television spots showing the hidden side of the Maldives, announcements of the eventual closing of spas and prohibition of alcohol in hotels, along with the reestablishment of the death penalty for children under 18, don’t really work in the favor of the country’s image.

At the SETO, René-Marc Chikli, President of the union of tour-operators, has not noticed any particular element concerning the protests of late February 2015.

However, the destination will be one of the topics discussed with ECTAA to understand the order books of other European markets.

For the 2015 year, the major part of the sales has been made, and the protests in Malé should not turn everything upside down for this summer.

Written by Céline Eymery translated by Joséphine Foucher the 04/03/2015
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Tags : Maldives

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