Malé City Council urges local hotel owners to beware of bikinis

Malé City Council has urged hoteliers and guest house owners in the capital to inform tourists of the importance of dressing modestly in the country’s inhabited islands.

Responding to a letter of complaint from the Islamic Ministry, city Mayor ‘Maizan’ Ali Manik has made a public announcement calling upon patrons to be more aware of the issue.

“Please look carefully at these kind of things that happen in Malé’s streets, and Hulhumalé’s streets,” said Manik.

“People have to be careful on this, because this is an islamic country. In inhabited islands, people should not walk in bikinis.”

“The ministry has to take that kind of action. If it prolongs it may be something beyond control.”

When asked about the letter today, State Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohamed Ali denied any such message had been sent.

While the resorts islands have thrived on so-called ‘bikini and booze’ tourism for decades, Islamic Shariah is practiced among the local populace of the 100 percent Sunni Islamic country.

Despite the country’s billion dollar tourism industry being founded on high-end luxury resorts – located on individual ‘uninhabited’ islands – mid-market tourism has risen rapidly over the past five years.

The number of guest houses has grown rapidly after the rise to power of the Maldivian Democratic Party in 2008, tripling in number in the past five years – although the most recent government figures show guest houses to comprise just over 4 percent of the industry’s registered bed capacity.

While promoted as by the MDP as a way for communities and smaller businesses to tap into the country’s largest source of income, the rise in tourists staying on inhabited islands has caused concern amongst some Islamic groups who suggest tourists and locals ought to be kept apart.

“If the hippy-type of travellers come, along will come drugs and narcotics which even now our society is suffering from. Things like nudity are not acceptable in a place where people are living. The people complain that they are praying in the mosque and just outside there are tourists in bikinis,” Vice President Mauroof Hussain of the Adhaalath Party recently told the AFP.

One Malé guesthouse owner –  who wished to remain anonymous – stated that moderation should be shown by tourists when walking the streets of the capital.

“Bikinis in public I think it’s unethical considering our traditions and culture.”

The owner,went on to say that he did not feel the issue to be a serious one, however, noting that most tourists were “very disciplined”.

Mayor Manik also expressed his belief that this was not a growing problem, saying that he had received no complaints from members of the public.

The current government – having been elected on a protection of Islam platform – is planning to experiment with ‘guest islands’, which aim to utilise uninhabited islands while still giving smaller entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter into the industry.

Speaking with Minivan News last month, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb said that while the current government was not against the guest house concept, he felt that publicising this small area of the industry could hurt the brand’s overall image.

“The thing is, from a marketing perspective, we have positioned the Maldives as a high-end destination. A-category guests will continue coming for as long as we market the country as an A-category destination,” he said.

Adeeb also noted that local concerns played a role in his reluctance to promote the guest house sector.

“Even locally, culturally, people get disheartened when we talk about guesthouses. So although I don’t much talk about it, guesthouse owners are aware that they have my full cooperation.”


11 thoughts on “Malé City Council urges local hotel owners to beware of bikinis”

  1. Porn in rampant. Rape is rampant. Movies are rated restricted. Education is western. Medium is English. Kids play ps3 4 xbox violent games.

    Yet, when they see a girl in bikinis that electric-jolts them to save the nation from the impending God-wrath due to actions from non-believers. At the same time, it also gives them a pure shot of Viagra, with unconstrained and unrestricted license to do what their little brains dictate.

    No wonder the blame falls on the victims in Saudi, Iran, afghan and Mordis.

  2. Adhaalath is always a few steps behind the times (perhaps several centuries in fact).

    There's no need for hippies to bring narcotics here. The stuff you get here are far stronger and lethal than that any hippie would use!

    As for nudity, that's not allowed in any populated place in the world. Try walking in a bikini in New York City and you'll probably get some very unwanted attention.

  3. Next Male City Council would be hiring a 'Bikini Police force'.... to rival Adalath's fashion police

    Either Male City Council has nothing better to do its a slow news day.

  4. Mordisians are so weak in their Agheedha, that the very sight of a bikini (bra, panties, and even the thaana letter raa) can break their faith.

  5. Generalisations, hear say, inuendos, scaremongering. This country has so many problems which urgently need to be dealt with. Girls in bikinis are just a distraction used by those who just want to control Maldivian bodies, minds and souls. What about a bikini tax to milk those few guests coming to Male. In most tourist brochures there are already enough messages stating that "Male is not worth a visit"! What a shame and embarrasment to this nation

  6. Tell me any country where people are freely working in in bikini or in nude.

    When something happens in Maldives , this becomes an international issue?

    No matter how much you hate this country, you will never be able to have religious freedom in this country.

    You can talk bulls***s and you can use any force but you will never be successful in this respect.

    Nasheed and his gangs can promise anything but never be able to do it in this soil.

  7. Well how foreigner walk around inhabited islands in bikinis possibly single digit,a very minuscule fraction,I think there is a hidden agenda by big dollar tourist resorts to hound out rest houses

  8. Being a foreigner myself, i do to a certain degree agree to the article subject.
    In Male itself, i cannot say i have seen any foreigners dress too exposed - it seems the "dress code" is for the most being respected and followed - its a city anyhow.
    In islands where guest houses and beaches can be found and we don't have to go further than Hulhumale to find it - extra awareness and information should be communicated, yes.
    If not being informed - non regardless knowing Maldives is a Islamic country - many foreigners practise wearing what they usually do in a beach and while swimming. Nude or toppless however is in every country restricted to dedicated areas or beaches anyway and most pay attention to and respect that being used to it.

    So i agree that foreigners coming to beaches shared with locals and guest houses in a local community should be informed carefully and if that is being done, i am sure they will follow and respect the culture and religion.

    Resorts on the other hand is a closed community restricted to the public other than paying guests and visitors.
    Here you would have much more difficulty to be met with understanding denying those who come for sun and sea to not wear a bikini while sunbathing or swimming - then i rather think those tourists would soon find other destinations....

    But in any local community and in public - respect and dress code should be followed by everybody - including tourists. And with a little more effort in information and signage, i do believe things will become better.

    Yes, Maldivians do see nudity on the internet and whatever, but still - being IN Maldives with its culture and religion, respect should be practiced.

  9. How about dressing of Maldivian women/girls! Its more erotic that tourists in Bikinis


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