Letter on treatment of visitors

Dear Sir

Wake up – this is no way to treat your visitors! As a regular visitor to your beautiful country, I feel it’s time to let you know what many international visitors to the Maldives feel about your poor airport service.

Should foreign visitors to the Maldives be treated to such poor service at the important time of arriving and leaving the country – especially when there are many other equally beautiful island countries around the world where they can spend their holidays?

Passport Control – here there are often long and unpleasant delays and queues on arrival. To make matters worse the guest has to go through the gauntlet of the impolite passport control staff. How difficult is it for them to offer a greeting to the guest as they arrive at the passport counter? “Good afternoon” – “thank you” – “goodbye…” It’s so easy and so simple. The passport control staff need a lesson in basic manners and why it is important for the benefit of their country that guests are treated with basic courtesy.

Food – There is a self-service cafeteria at the International Terminal – (apparently owned by a Maldivian – Mr Hassan Bagir), where there are no pricing notices and where a cup of coffee will cost the same as the most expensive cities in the world, London or Paris.

The service in this cafe is poor and unpleasant, and one has to ask for change! No wonder there were no Maldivians eating or drinking at the tables of this cafeteria – it’s only the ignorant foreigner who is foolish enough to order food and drinks here.

Souvenir shop – where the Hindi Film is so loud you cannot think clearly and the staff have no other interest than to watch the Hindi film. The badly displayed stock includes Sharks Heads (I thought Shark Fishing in Maldives is meant to be banned?)

Customs and immigration – It’s still unbelievable that visitors coming to the Maldives from somewhere like Sri Lanka or Thailand will have any Buddhist statues in their possession confiscated. This is crazy when you have an excellent museum in Male’ displaying Buddhist statues – representing a period of Maldives history!

I would like to suggest to the Airport Authorities and the Ministry of Tourism: Wake up, this is no way to treat your visitors!

I hear a new airport is going to be built in the Maldives – there is little point unless there is an understanding why customer service and basic manners are important in the competitive business of tourism.

Concerned Visitor

All letters are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to submit a letter, please send it to [email protected]


24 thoughts on “Letter on treatment of visitors”

  1. Good points, well said. I thoroughly agree with everything you said and yes, it is an international embarrassment on all those levels.
    *Now cue the paranoid/politicized/propagandist accusations in the comments to follow your letter, rather than those accepting the fact that the airport's a mess, and something needs doing*

  2. Clearly written or heavily influenced by local opinions and views. A rather comical attempt at lending "international" support to the move for privatization. However, I must once again reiterate my support for the writer's sentiments and echo them wholeheartedly.

  3. agree with Hamza, both in criticisms directed and also the support for the writer's sentiments.

  4. Having been a regular visitor over the last dozen years, I must agree with Hamza.

    I have found immigration staff to be very cold and unwelcoming. Long delays at immigration clearance are avoidable and need to be addressed.The country relies on tourism and should be much more responsive to tourists requirements.

    Airport services, in particular, are rather warped. One cannot get an alcoholic drink in the VIP lounge but can buy as much expensive liquor from a well stocked duty free store just 30 meters away within the departures area.You cannot import these products from the departures area. Why permit sale but prohibit consumption?

    The cafeteria area in the departure lounge is a disgrace. In a country which, quite genuinely, boasts to offer some of the world's finest hospitality services it is a great shame that one of the last memories on departure is of a dirty, understaffed cafeteria offering food and soft drinks that I would not dare touch.

    Fortunately the airport is booked for an upgrade. The new operators may be a little more sensitive to the marketplace.

  5. I agree with the author, Maldivians are a lot devoid of courtesy, if you have money and power you would probably out up a facade of respect.

    A sad lot indeed.

  6. @Shri Ram
    Indians still bow to white people and snub coloured people.

    Maldivians know this very well!

    I have also experienced this in India itself.

    M.K.Gandhi are you listening? Your sacrifice is almost in vain!

  7. @Dr.Anthony

    "Why permit sale but prohibit consumption?"

    Why have sex in the hotel room and not on the jetty?

  8. Dear Concerned visitor,
    Don't think maldivians haven't visited your country. Don't think Maldivians have been through the long queues at the likes of Heathrow Airport and greeted by rude immigration officers. While I agree with all of your points, better to get your house in order [your so called developed country] before you complain about a small 3rd country.
    Thank you

  9. having travelled many countries around this area, yes our airport lacks the modern looks and attitude in general, BUT a big BUT, the points raised here like the long queues and rude immigration officers are common place in all airports. i thought they were trained to be like that or may be all of them just hated me.. its very hard for me to feel sorry for the visitor because i have been treated the same in almost all the countries i have visited.

  10. @Gman and @Nobody
    The difference you fools is that this country relies 100% on tourism for everything. Its time you stop comparing yourself with UK or wherever. This is Maldives- 100% reliants on TOURISM. Treat these visitors badly and we can all one day go back to Dhoni and Tuna Fishing all day! Just wait for one incident in Maldives and tourist loyalty will vanish into thin air... Seychelles time......

  11. This letter to Minivan News is government propaganda plain and simple.

    I can guess what the next article on Minivan News will be.
    It will be either an interview by someone or an anonymous letter asking Maldivian Parliamentarians to approve of all the cabinet minsters.

  12. @Sissyandproud

    If you are sissy and proud wear "gun guroo" on your ankles and start dancing! Thaa! Thaka! Thai!

    You sound Indian again, are you GMR's ambassador?

  13. This letter is not written by someone form England. It is written by an Indian most probably.

    I can only hope this was not sent to Minivan News by one of those people from GMR who came to sign the contract.

  14. @Robin
    Let me get this right - asking for Good Customer Services in the Airport is Govt propaganda right? keke

  15. I traveled to a foreign country and came back on the night of 26 via Malaysia. As usual I brought many books for my personal use because I like to read books to improve my knowledge.
    However unlike other instances the immigration officers demanded to open my 2 luggages which were packed very tight. When I asked the reason they told me that there is nothing they can do and the Islamic Ministry had ordered them to check all the books just to make sure there are no books contradicting Islam or books that insult Islam.

    Even though a muslim, it was hard for me to accept the justification of the Islamic ministry because this is an age of technology and at one click anyone can access to any materials, read and download whatever they want.

    Although they found nothing like that, I felt offended.

  16. @Addu

    Are you siding with a foreigner who hates Maldives, on how our Customs staff should work?

    I am not saying that everything is in order or as it should be.

    BUT we are neither a county of UK nor a surrogate province of India.

    It is NOT a foreigner who will decide what our Customs should confiscate or release!

    Maldives is an independent country, damn it!

  17. @heck
    exactly. besides ppl from india and uk can't complain abt the service here because what they have in their own countries is worse (india) not any better (uk, us and most of europe too)

  18. @heck.

    My comment has nothing to do with the service and standard of the airport nor the development of it and GMR.

    When did sharing an incident on my own experience become siding with anyone? And besides I can't accept the fact that any ministry can dictate to me what I can read. And it is a right.

  19. Yes Maldives is an independent country, depending on almost everything from Tourism. Thats a fact.

    Whilst we should not rely of foreigners to dictate how we should we should run our country, we can and must listen to our customers. Granted where we need to be harsh and strict, we have to be, but courtesy in all quarters, right across would not harm anyone.

    Its not news, anyone who has visited India would know the pathetic state of their customer services. Don't compare with them. I was in Malaysia a month back, the bi*ch at the counter was so rude, i almost retorted right back at her.

    True there are long lines at the LHR, but on whole, they mostly fall on the courteous side, rather than the rude.

    After all, are we not claiming as among the most friendly nations?

  20. There is no evidence to suggest that the author is either British or Indian. Why are people so sure he or she is? Maldivians should be ashamed of how they treat non-Muslim visitors, especially those from places such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines. In every country Muslims among Maldivians visit they have full freedom to worship and yet religious items used in private worship or devotion in the procession of non-Muslim visitors are disrespectfully confiscated, spat, defecated and urinated on or burnt. Maldives customs specialise in insulting religions other than Islam. It is as though Muslim Maldivians feel they will have to convert out of Islam if they even see those items. Their faith in Mohamed and his Allah is so vulnerable.

  21. @Wine lover : The fact is that Maldivians have chosen a true religion (Islam) they know for sure that is the truth . We are fully convinced of our religion with no doubts while the other's are in doubt with their religions. We are 100% Muslims . Fixed and done unlike other countries . So we are to defend the truth at any cost and wouldn't let others to take away the truth from us.

  22. @Wine lover : Doesn't matter how much anger u have upon us all. We are 100% Muslims and we will have 100% Mosques. with 100% Qurans and all 100% Islamic items. And we wont allow any other religion into this country other than Islam. Because we have already decided. We are 100% Muslims while most of the other countries are to sort out their religions. They have mixture of Islam , christianity, Budhism , Jewdism etc which means that have not fully finalized of their one true religion yet. Their doors are still open while we have closed and shut our doors. So this is the difference between the Maldives and other countries. If u like us, u visit us and if u don't like us, don't visit us.

  23. i read the comments with intrest, i travelled to maldives this year, my experience was overwhelming, the maldivians were warm and kind, they have just started and lets give them a break they will evolve for surely, regarding the customs let me share with u they asked y was i here in male, i replied, and they did not even asked me to unzipp my bag, carry along maldives we all grew making mistakes and learned. u are a beautiful country and love it.


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