“More than 50 Maldivian companies are attending this week’s event at London’s ExCel convention centre, where they hope to promote the Indian Ocean archipelago as an idyllic holiday destination,” writes Oliver Smith for the UK’s Telegraph.
Instead they may be asked to explain to visitors why the event’s official Twitter hashtag has been inundated with photos of the victims of alleged police brutality and tweets claiming democracy has been destroyed in the country.
Many of the messages are aimed at Qasim Ibrahim, one of the country’s richest businessmen and the owner of several luxury holiday resorts. Mr Ibrahim came third in the first round of voting for September’s presidential election, behind former president Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically-elected leader who was overthrown in an alleged coup last year, and a third candidate, Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives. But Mr Ibrahim was able to convince the country’s Supreme Court to annul the vote, alleging electoral fraud, despite both the EU and the Commonwealth declaring the poll free and fair.
Others Twitter users utilised the hashtag to repeat claims made by Mr Nasheed that he was overthrown at the behest of resort owners. Others urge a tourist boycott of the country – something Mr Nasheed has also called for in the past. Tourism accounts for around a third of the country’s GDP.”