MATI concerned over “concerted international campaign” against several resort owners

The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) has issued a statement expressing “serious concern” over what it describes as a “concerted international campaign” against several of the country’s resort operators.

MATI claimed that calls from the Maldives Tourism Advisory (MTA) for tourists to avoid certain properties on the basis of ownership were “libelous in the extreme”, as the allegations against the tourist resort operators “have not been proven either through an investigation or a court of law.”

The MTA website features a ‘traffic light’ system with “red” resorts recently appearing to have been expanded to include an assortment of 18 properties owned by Vice President Waheed Deen and senior figures associated with the new ruling coalition, including Jumhoree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim, Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP Abdulla Jabir, and Hussain ‘Champa’ Afeef.

MATI claimed that “unsubstantiated charges directed at some resort operators [will] result not only in loss of business at their resorts, but in loss of reputation and standing in international markets and the global community.”

“A call to boycott the resorts could [also] lead to enormous loss of business and lay-off of resort staff and support workers, not to mention those several small businesses that cater to the tourism industry that will be affected.”

The resort body accused the campaigners of “not having the decency to come out in the open” and “hiding behind the safe veil of the internet.”

“It is our belief that the several accusations and charges directed at the operators of resort businesses must be proven in a court of law before these businesses are subject to industrial action or denunciation.”

The MTA yesterday released a statement in response to MATI, emphasising that it was not calling for a boycott but rather “supplementing” existing travel advice from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“Visitors choosing to be selective and avoiding resorts tainted by the actions of their owners might lead to some loss of business to these resorts, but we are quite convinced that it would not have an overall impact on the economy of the Maldives,” the MTA said in a statement. “Nor would it seriously affect the prospects of employment for Maldivians. This is proven by the government’s own figures showing a healthy increase in tourism arrivals.”

“While MATI mentions investigations of resort owners in a “court of law” it can clearly be seen that the Maldivian judiciary would be an inappropriate institution for such an investigation, given that one of MATI’s senior members (and whose resorts we recommend avoiding) sits on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), the body tasked with overseeing the judiciary,” the MTA noted.

“”The only ‘investigation’ that we are aware of at present is the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI). This is deemed to be neither serious, timely nor unbiased by international observers and most Maldivians. No serious efforts have been made to address the deficiencies in this investigation, and they do not involve the resort owners mentioned in the MTA.

“The MTA always carefully considers all the available facts from several sources when recommending resorts to be avoided. There is no necessity to await ‘investigations’ and “courts of law” (as the MATI statement suggests) as MTA recommendations are based on important information that serves to enable visitor choice.”

Quarterly tourism figures published by the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) showed a 3.3 percent rise in visitor arrivals compared to the same period in 2011, however this was lower than the 12.6 percent growth seen in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 2010.

Growth in Chinese arrivals slowed dramatically due to cancelled charter flights, while several of the country’s mainstay markets declined – including Italy, France and the UK. Russian, German, Swiss and Middle Eastern arrivals showed strong increases.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb and former Tourism Minister Dr Mariyam Zulfa were not responding at time of press.


9 thoughts on “MATI concerned over “concerted international campaign” against several resort owners”

  1. Of course under the present Maldivian justice system, these allegations will never reach the law courts, much less be proved. However, they have already been proved in the court of public opinion. So suck it up; that is the reality and let the resort owners pay the devil whom they courted.

  2. The illegal take over of the first democratically elected government in Maldives has caused the damage to the reputation of our country. The Villa and other Deen resorts should have considered that first.
    You cannot expect people who live under a dictatorship and who get brutalised by police forces, to support the coup d'etat when it comes to economy or tourism.
    In meantime the coup resort owners waive their taxes and debts to the state coffers ... cutting in health care and projects for development.

  3. why did Anni was thorn out from his post ? it was thorns because he was constantly violating our laws and constitution and not because of anything else.

    For the last two years ,Anni took the law in his hand started doing what he feel to do and never bothered about what is written in our constitution.

    He treated all maldivian except his party people like dogs and that is why he was thrown out.

    Guys it is a not prerequisite that to be a Maldivian, that we nee d to be a member of Anni party and we should have right to be a member or not a member of MDP and this was not the case.

    Anni can not digest any criticism against him and he is the worst dictator of this century,

  4. Vice President Deen's resorts targetted by "friend" of Maldives,High Priest Father Hardingham of The British O Church.
    Now Hadingham's follower former Dictator Nasheed is begging Deen to rescue him from certain jail sentence. Ironic?

  5. They are targeting only those involved in the illegal coup. They have created this mess for themselves.

  6. I don't think we need bikini clad, fornicating, drinking tourists in our 100% Muslim country. As brother Zakir Naik said, we can do well with Islamic tourism. Allah SWT will give us whatever rizq that he has in mind for us, so we may not worry about economic failure by disallowing Jews and Atheist tourists to holiday on our 100% Muslim land.

  7. I thought minivan news was too much taking the side of MDP but I can see they are now more taking the side of the government and resorts owners. Maybe they are being diplomtic. Many important parts of the statement by MTA are not quoted and I copy them below:

    "We call upon MATI to provide an undertaking that the rights of workers at these resorts to protest will be guaranteed and that no workers will be dismissed.

    In giving its advice, the MTA has not done anything to harm the tourism industry or the economy in the Maldives. Regrettably, the same cannot be said of those resort owners (members of MATI) who by their actions have put in danger the very industry they helped to develop and that now sustains the economy of the Maldives.

    We respectfully call upon MATI, as the oldest and most respected organisation of resort owners in the Maldives, to urge the few of their members who have chosen to put their industry, the economy of the Maldives, and the reputation of MATI at risk for what appears to be nothing more than personal greed and ambition,to remove politics from tourism and to instead devote their considerable talents and energies to promote their business ethically, and to respect democracy and human rights in the Maldives.

    We are sure MATI agrees with us that democracy and respect for human rights is the only way to safeguard and develop the industry and economy in the 21st century. We are sure MATI agrees that the current political dispute and the uncertainties it creates are the greatest risk to the Maldivian economy.

We are also sure MATI and others agree that the only way to resolve a dispute over the legitimacy of a democratic government is through free and fair elections, and no one who respects these principles need fear this.

    We continue to urge all visitors, tour operators and all those involved in the industry to exercise their judgement and conscience in being selective where their hard earned tourism dollars are spent. Our advice can be found at"

  8. Most tourists are fools that come here to drink wine, fornicate, worship Oogah Boogah and fawn over our Male physiques. Such is their wanton harlotry.

    We could start garrotting a third of each batch upon arrival, and they would still keep visiting us. To rely on the money of such degenerates for our income is utterly deviant. I want none of it.

  9. Hardingham and his close allies wants our ordinary people to suffer. Boycotting tourism will do no harm to the rich forks who owns these resorts and have shares all over the world, its only people like us who depends on tourism who suffers. Although I support and sympathise MDP I dont support those people behind this crual act.Specially the maldivians.


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