Trouble In Paradise: Maldives Row Sees Many Cancel Tickets, EaseMyTrip Suspends Bookings

Maldives, a popular travel destination for Indians, is facing a backlash after a minister of the island nation made derogatory comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to numerous Indian travelers canceling their trips.

What Happened: Online travel aggregator EaseMyTrip has halted flight bookings to the Maldives following the row.

The CEO and co-founder of EaseMyTrip, Nishant Pitti, expressed solidarity with the government and announced the suspension of all Maldives flight bookings. He emphasised the significance of the Indian tourism market for the Maldives, with around 3 lakh people visiting the island nation from India annually.

In response to recent events, EaseMyTrip is redirecting its focus to promote domestic tourism in destinations like Lakshadweep, a place Modi recently visited and encouraged travelers to travel to.

The co-founders of the travel booking platform also revealed the launch of five new packages to promote Lakshadweep. The travel aggregator said it aims to encourage domestic tourism in locations like Ayodhya, hoping that Lakshadweep and Ayodhya will become international tourist spots.

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In response to the controversial comments made by a Maldives minister, many Indians who had previously booked trips to the Maldives took to social media to say they had cancelled their bookings. The offensive remark sparked the hashtag #BoycottMaldives, becoming a top trend on social media platform X.

Tensions Fan Tourism Concerns: The tension between the two nations has raised concerns about the impact on the Maldives’ economy. Leaders in the island nation expressed worries that Indians boycotting the Maldives could have a significant negative effect on the economy.

Former sports minister of Maldives, Ahmed Mahloof, urged the government to take swift and serious action to address the issue.

To address the controversy, the Maldives government suspended three of its ministers, including Deputy Minister Mahzoom Majid, who made the offensive remarks against Modi.

Price Action: EaseMyTrip shares climbed 5.56% to ₹43.70 amid weak broader cues following the show of solidarity by the firm’s co-founders.

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