Maldives mutiny sparks tourism warnings

Maldives mutiny sparks tourism warnings

But political unrest yet to cross from the capital island to the Maldives' famed honeymoon atolls
The Maldives, a nation of more than 1,000 islands lives up to its Photoshopped images in travel brochures.

The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, resigned Tuesday following weeks of protests and a revolt by police officers. The tourism industry, however, has remained mostly stable in the face of the political tumult, with only a small number of trips canceled after various governments around the world issued travel warnings.

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Tourism is one of the mainstays of the economy of the Maldives, a nation of 1,192 low-lying islands of which only 200 are inhabited. The political unrest is generally confined within Malé, the capital, which is not on the tourist route.

A Hong Kong travel agent, who did not wish to be identified, said that most tourists do not visit Malé.

MaldivesMohamed Nasheed was the first truly democratically elected president of the Maldives."We usually take the tours straight out to the atolls after transferring at Malé airport and do not arrange a Malé itinerary."

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Since Tuesday's events, Malé International Airport -- located on a separate atoll from Malé itself -- has remained open and hotels across the nation are operating as usual.

However, Iqbal Mulla, president of the Travel Agents' Association of India, is concerned that there may be a wave of cancellations in the coming days as the political situation unfolds.

"Any political instability or natural disaster affects the tourism industry first," Mulla told The Times of India.

The Indian government had on Wednesday not yet issued any travel advisory for the Maldives.

China's embassy in the Maldives has advised Chinese travel agencies against travel to the Maldives, according to China Daily.

Most of the Chinese tourists in the country are on scattered islands and not the capital, an embassy staff member told China Daily.

So far, the United States, Britain, Australia and Germany have warned against traveling to Malé due to political tension and risk of unrest.

Travelers heading to the Maldives should check with their travel agents or government departments for the latest travel advisory.

Are you in the Maldives right now, or were you there recently? Let us know in the comments box below how the political situation has affected your travel experience.