Parliament’s Government Oversight Committee has decided to summon Transport Minister Adil Saleem and Tourism Minister Dr Maryam Zulfa after the government closed five spas in five Villa company resorts and grounded Airline ‘Flyme’ operations.
Flyme operations were cleared earlier today upon completion of a security inspection.
The companies are owned by opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) Leader and MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim.
Transport Minister Adil Saleem today told Minivan News that the parliament has not informed him about the decision and has not yet received a summons.
He said the Transport Ministry had to ask Flyme to stop operations after it received a report that a plane’s windscreen broke during a flight to Male’.
‘’I as the Transport Minister have to be responsible for the safety of the flights operating in the Maldives,’’ Adil said. ‘’We did a safety audit following the incident.’’
He said three things were noted in the audit report.
‘’They have now corrected the three things noted in the safety audit report,’’ he said. Adil said he would not like to tell the media about the three things noted in the report.
Meanwhile Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) voiced its extreme concern over the Tourism Ministry’s actions.
‘’The association has not been able to find the reason behind this nor see any investigation done by Tourism Ministry for such irresponsible action,’’ read MATATO’s press statement. ‘’The industry is in the midst of the business period with the new year ahead of us and sees that these actions by the ministry will have serious implications beyond repair.’’
The association noted that transfers that have been arranged for tourist arrival via ‘Flyme’ will be disrupted due to the decision to suspend the airline.
‘’The spa and wellness concept is very popular among tourists and many tourists pre-book their treatments in advance not only in Villa Resorts but across all the resorts in the Maldives,’’ the statement read. ‘’Already several international hotel chains operating in the Maldives are worried that the same could happen to them, and this will have a negative impact on investor confidence and will be a motive for businesses to take money out of the economy rather than inject it locally.’’
MATATO also urged the government to keep politics away from tourism as ‘’majority of Maldivians depend on tourism for their livelihood and it is something to be dealt with extreme caution and care.’’