Tourists enjoying the sun and sand at the Maldives’ luxury island resorts have barely put down their cocktails during the political crisis rocking Asia’s newest democracy, oblivious to behind-the-scenes links of tourism to the tumult, writes Bryson Hull for Reuters.
Just a 10-minute boat ride from the capital island of Male, site of a police mutiny that led to ex-president Mohamed Nasheed’s departure last week and ensuing clashes, lies the paradise most visitors associate with the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Step off the 15-metre (50-foot) power boat, replete with an air-conditioned cabin and leather seats, that whisks you to the dock at Kurumba resort on Vihamanafushi, and you are immediately in a land of luxury, water sports and relaxation.
The political turmoil, as far as American literature professor Jerzy Sobieraj was concerned, was an ocean away across the glassine turquoise waters at his feet.
“We are having a great time. We heard about the coup, but it doesn’t matter to us. It hasn’t affected us at all,” Sobieraj told Reuters, sipping a glass of white wine alongside his wife, lawyer Ewa Korzan-Sobieraj, on a chaise longue.