Tourism Ministry revokes permit of tour operator Atoll Paradise over fraud allegations

The Maldives Tourism Ministry has suspended the permit allowing local tour operator Atoll Paradise to take holiday bookings, following allegations the company – now under police investigation – has defrauded customers and international travel agents.

Tourism Ministry Senior Legal Officer Faseeh Zahir told Minivan News that the government had temporarily revoked Atoll Paradise’s licence to operate as a travel agent, and fined the company MVR 1 million (US$65,000).

“We have received several complaints from customers and foreign travel agents in recent months that bookings have been cancelled [by the company], but no refund has been given,” he said. “There are allegations of fraud and of the company not acting according to regulations. This is not just a case of one guest, we have received several complaints.”

Faseeh said that although the company’s permit to operate as a travel agent had been temporarily revoked, Atoll Paradise would still be required to honour all existing bookings.

“However, from today, Atoll Paradise is not allowed to take any new bookings from clients,” he said.

According to Faseeh, the Tourism Ministry has received several complaints of alleged fraud by Atoll Paradise over the last two months as authorities have sought to hold talks with the company.

He said the ministry had noted some “misconduct” by the company and decided based on complaints received to both fine and revoke Atoll Paradise’s permit until all alleged outstanding payments and grievances had been settled.

With the ministry not itself being an investigative authority, Faseeh added that police had also been informed of the Atoll Paradise case.

Police Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that an investigation was now expected to begin into the company’s operations following the allegations of fraud.

According to Faseeh, any decision to return Atoll Paradise’s permit would depend on the outcome of the police investigation, as well as whether the company could resolve the complaints against it from clients and travel agents.

Award success

Atoll Paradise is one of the Maldives’ largest locally-owned tour operators, with the company in May winning several accolades including the Maldives’ and Seychelles Leading Tour Operator at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Indian Ocean ceremony.

The company was also awarded the title of the World’s Leading Luxury Boutique Tour Operator at the 2012 WTA ceremony.

Atoll Paradise’s office in Male’ was not responding to calls at time of press. The company had also failed to respond to email enquiries at time of press.

Ministry focus

The Tourism Ministry said today that Atoll Paradise was not the first local tour operator to have its permit revoked by the government over allegations of misconduct.

Ministry Legal Officer Faseeh said that ministry had last year revoked the license of one local operator accused of acting outside the law.

He urged guests intending to book a Maldives holiday through a local operator to be aware of their rights and ensure they had been provided with a booking agreement specifying terms of cancellation. Resort bookings in the luxury honeymoon destination can reach many thousands of dollars.

Faseeh said local tour operators were required to communicate and agree terms for cancelled bookings, as well as communicating them to the client upon confirming a booking.

He added that guests wishing to seek clarification on a booking or travel agency could directly contact the ministry or industry body, such as the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), via e-mail.

Any complaints against a tour operator could meanwhile be registered through the Tourism Ministry’s website here.


72 thoughts on “Tourism Ministry revokes permit of tour operator Atoll Paradise over fraud allegations”

  1. My special advise please put him into jail, he has given to much torture to me.

  2. We can not cancel the operations of Visa because the process has been for more than two months and did not object within the period specified in the Statement of Account!!!!!

    This solution is not effective it serves as a time wasting by the agency!!!!

    I am affected by this agency three months ago and so far I have not found, but stall them!!!!!

    As well as the Minister of Tourism, on the lookout for my case was sent several emails to the Ministry of mordern not reply!!!!!

    Large theft carried out by this agency should be shamed lost to Maldives tourism

  3. Thank you E-News.
    I just submit the dispute form to bank.
    I will try to do this if my bank din't give me any respond.
    But this payment I make at end of May, already 2 months ago, hope can get back my money.

  4. Dear JJ,

    just visit below link in Trip Adviser, there are lot of victims shared their experience with AP, and some of are already got their refund, you can get the advice from those people also.

  5. First, the solution must be through the Ministry of Tourism to retrieve the money to us <this link PDF PDF

    Second put Marchil and the director false in prison

  6. Ministry has to be serious about this. To refund all clients who has paid for their vacation is the only way to regain the travel industry.

  7. I tried to e-mail the tourism ministry but the mail wasn't delivered.

    I was one of the affected customers and i didn't get my refund back.

    Does anyone know a valid e-mail so i can send them an e-mail with my case ?

    I really hope to get my money back.

    Any help!!

  8. muja i dont know this things happend in ap anything else please come out the things any thing secret.


    1st Floor. H. Reef View

    Dhoohimeri Magu

    Male' Maldives

    Tel: 00960-3344929, Fax: 00960-3344909

    Email: [email protected]

  10. I paid full amount for my anniversary holiday and they cancelled the booking the week after i paid in full!!!!

    Over a month now and still no refund.

    How can I get my money back from these people who have stolen my money.

    How can we open a case in the court against them.

  11. Dear khaled,

    Please go through this link, and read the post no 76, you will get the idea of your refund.

  12. Hi Everyone,

    "Message from ATOLL PARADISE Management"

    Finally we have already started documentation for our new Company with new name (a name we will publish soon), We are very proud of Our Boss, 90% new website development is finished. We Will Come soon in to the Luxury Travel World Market again.

    ATOLL PARADISE is close for temporary, NEW NAME SOOON!

    Well done!! Mohamed Bagir.

    Thank you,

  13. Are you serious, could your government allow you to be in business gain after what you have done to 10s of people who trusted you with their vacation down payments.... Pay people their money first...

  14. Dear All,.

    We have seen how AP was coming up in the market and how they were getting the support from government of Maldives, so many other travel agencies were talking about this and every key player in the ministry was ignoring it saying it is a rumor.

    First of all the Ministry of Tourism need to do create an organisation to keep track on these operators who are trying to milk the valuable visitors who are visiting our country.

    Lets not only blame one organ, they would not be able to succeed for this long if there were no other organs with them,. Find all who are related to this.

  15. Its unbelievable!!!!
    Maldivian Government should pay for the people who lost there money under a directly responsibility of the Minester of Tourism!
    Im a Portuguese Media Entrepreneur!
    I Will hunt you down, and believe me I will achieve my goal, not only with the Government of Maldives but also with Bagir!
    Sometimes .......... Happens.

  16. Maldivian Government should pay for the people who lost there money under a directly responsibility of the Minester of Tourism!

    Tourism in the Maldives has become a steal


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