Maldives feel the pinch as Indian tourists shun island country in 2024: Report

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The Maldives is feeling the pinch as the number of Indian tourists visiting the island country has dropped significantly in the last few months. Indian tourists, who used to flock to the Maldives, are now shunning the island nation. India has slipped to sixth position in 2024 compared to being a topper in visitor numbers in 2023. This has prompted the local tourism industry to flag the dangers to the ruling government for the tourism-dependent economy of the archipelagic country in the Indian Ocean.

According to the Maldives Tourism Ministry statistics, over 17 lakh tourists visited the island nation in 2023, out of which more than 2,09,198 visitors were Indians followed by Russians (2,09,146) and China (1,87,118).

The number of Indian visitors was more than 2.4 lakh in 2022 while over 2.11 lakh Indians flew to the Maldives in 2021. The Maldives was also one of the few countries open for international tourists during the pandemic and nearly 63,000 Indians visited that country during that period.

The Tourism Ministry statistics for 2023 showed that 41,054 Indian tourists visited the Maldives by March 4 last year. The number of Indian tourists recorded as of March 2 this year was 27,224. This was 13,830 less than last year, Maldives-based Adhadhu reported.

India occupied the sixth spot in tourist arrivals in 2024, the Ministry’s statistics showed, compared to the consistent first spot since 2020.

The row between India and Maldives started after three Maldivian deputy ministers made derogatory comments against PM Narendra Modi, over his pictures from the visit to Lakshadweep. PM Modi had called for the Indian island cluster to be developed as a destination for beach tourism and promotion of domestic tourism.

(With PTI inputs)

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