Resorts to face fines and suspensions for future ‘wedding ceremony’ foul ups

Resorts that break aggressive new regulations governing ‘symbolic wedding ceremonies’ in the Maldives will be fined up to Rf 1 million (US$78,000).

Depending on the nature of the breach, the Tourism Ministry will also have the discretion “to cancel the license granted under this Regulation and to temporarily withhold the permission granted to operate to such resort.”

The government raced to introduce the new regulations after a video of a couple being insulted in Dhivehi by 15 complicit resort staff at Vilu Reef Resort and Spa surfaced on YouTube, and quickly made headlines around the world.

The 15-minute video of the ceremony was uploaded on on October 24 2010 by a member of staff. Vilu Reef Manager Mohamed Rasheed told Minivan News at the time that the staff member who uploaded the video did it as “a joke”, without “realising the seriousness of the potential consequences”.

Earlier this week, President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed rang the couple degraded in the Vilu Reef  incident to apologise on behalf of the nation, and invite them back to the Maldives at their convenience as his personal guests.

Non-Muslims are unable to get married in the 100 percent Islamic Maldives, but many tourists pay for elaborate ‘renewal of vows’ ceremonies, often requesting a ‘Maldivian flavour’ to the proceedings.

The new regulations governing such ceremonies state that these ceremonies must now be conducted under the supervision of a resort’s senior management.

“If the tourist chooses to hold their ceremony in a language that is unknown to them, the resort must provide the tourist with a translation of the ceremony in a language they understand,” the President’s Office said in a statement.

Furthermore, “the attendees to the symbolic marriage ceremony shall not engage in any disrespectful activity either actively or verbally while the proceedings are ongoing.”

The regulations also state that “The attire of the participants from the resort organising the symbolic marriage ceremony, the decorations used, the embellishments used to enrich such ceremonies in the form of
entertainment that may be organised and any tunes and songs which may be used during such ceremony, shall be used in a manner compatible with Maldivian culture.”

Resort management must also keep an audio or video recording of a ceremony for one year, if the tourist agrees, and provide it to the Ministry of Tourism on request.

“Tourists frequently say the Maldives’ warm hospitality is the main reason they keep coming back to the country,” said the President’s Press Secretary, Mohamed Zuhair.

New regulations in full (English)

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18 thoughts on “Resorts to face fines and suspensions for future ‘wedding ceremony’ foul ups”

  1. Dear administrator, tempted to comment with a joke but will not. Hope others will not pick on the frontiers exposed by this move. You may delete this comment. I know you can, just like you held my comment on the 40% article till you got Mahlouf's name corrected.

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  2. THE BIGGEST THREATS are:
    (1) dirty politicians using religion as a weapon or tool to win the hearts of common people by twisting small things;

    (2) foolish and half-educated scholars giving bull$hi# sermons and re-doing the same as in (1).

    And the fact is that the two category of culprits are either:
    (1) business tyocoons funded by Gay-yoom or;
    (2) scholars whose education was funded by Gay-yoom.

    THE SOLUTIONS:
    (1) EU has to open more scholarships to Maldivians;
    (2) Avoid sending students to fanatic Islamic countries – especially those with hate mongering schools;
    (3) Spread awareness amongst parents and public that education and politics have got nothing to do with one’s religion. For religion is a belief of certain things on his/her own FREE WILL.

    No matter how much a parent or a government forces a person to believe certain theological things; it’s always up to the individual to grasp on those.

    For example, the son of Prophet Noah went astry when actually his father did admonish him.

    Christians, Jews and Muslims are brothers like branches from the same tree – the tree of Ibrahim/Abraham. Over the hundreds and thousands of years, kings and priests started to twist things regarding religion. And soon religion was misused and abused as a political tool.

    For once, we all need to think that be it a Jew, Muslim or Christian – we’re all HUMANS. So we’ve to respect others despite that there are certain differences amongst us. We need to use intellect in solving our problems.

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  3. While this is a good move I doubt this will have much impact. This comes from a government that often violates own constitution and people are fed-up with the laws.

    President Nasheed must start following our laws before coming up with laws pressuring others.

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  4. this does not solve the real problem. typical, just typical way of avoiding real issue which is shifting values of society through education to respect others and that just because someone does not subscribe to our portion of belief does not make them evil.

    Still govt is treating everyone like little kids (which may be the sad case i have to say) BUT isn't WHATS mentioned in the new regulations just obvious things for any adult. to respect others and not treat others like shit. DOES one have to make a law here in Maldives for even the commonsense. I guess! thats exactly what state is doing. probably they do not have a clue how to solve the real issue.

    big thumb down:(

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  5. The people who performed the infamous fake wedding should be punishable by law and their sense of humor is totally unacceptable.

    However, Minivannews, blow the fake wedding incident out of proportion and has been the sole source in discredited the Maldives beyond repair.

    It is one thing in reporting news, but another in setting news agenda. Government please get real with these seemingly 'friendly' people before they strike back again.

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  6. This is knee jerk action. The real problem is education system and everyone playing the Islam card.

    What will the Tourism Ministry do when a waiter, in English, tells a client that since he is a pork eating alcohol guzzling infidel and will end up in hell, disgruntled by getting a tip that he thinks is not what he deserves?

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  7. This is so embarrassing.I feel ashamed to say I am a Maldivian now since i live overseas. The news is everywhere. How can people take this as a joke? Seriously? How stupid are those people? I feel so sad and sorry for those couples! Tourism is the main reason why this country is so famous. And I am ashamed to say that now people keep doing so degraded things and they dont even know whats right or wrong or whats the meaning of limits and respect! of course now everything is about politics which is why this is getting worse! The country is in a mess! Thousands of things to correct and people who really don't know what politics is about gets involved. Just because you can just talk about the bad things what the previous government did wont help the future! There is a saying called "Action speaks louder than words."

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  8. The problem is our culture of intolerance of anything different from our own beliefs.It is so much ingrained that most Maldivians don't recognize the hypocrisy in our behavior.
    We must learn to respect others' beliefs first. Regulation of "Weddings" is not whats needed. Its a good place to start by allowing people to think for themselves. We don't allow that. By Law.

    Is Islam in such a precarious position that we need to persecute others? Asking ourselves this question is a start.

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  9. Parliament´s refusal to endorse a cabinet minister will not remove the minister from office – the President

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  10. Remember,,your tourism industry is less than 20yrs old,,still a new business really..There will be, and has been,plenty of mistakes made.Also remember that it is also the same length of time that the Maldivian people have had any real contact with the outside world.Maybe progress is going too fast?maybe the young Maldivians are frustrated with the lack of opportunities being put their way[top management]maybe they just need an equal chance to show their potential..As previous letters have stated--education is the key,,genuine open viewed education,,not the biggoted singular view education that seems to be in fashion..Get teachers in from all over the world,get the pupils to learn from outside sources,learn how the outside world works,maybe then these next generation of students can make their country work for the benefit of all Maldivians..Make the break---do it now,don,t become another Somalia please..I love you all and I would love to be able to help.We as ex-RAF Gan are going to sponsor a student,we hope this could be the start of something new...Larry

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  11. I often boast to Westerners I meet about my Wife being a Maldivian. It is something rare and special, something worth boasting about. They would be all so excited and say WOW! Your wife is from paradise! You are so LUCKY to be married to one from paradise I wish I was you! She must be EXOTIC WOW WOW!!! Maldivians were believed to be Angels by the whole world, especially after Anni became the worlds hero for campaigning against global warming.

    Most Australians, including myself, had an idealised, fantastic, romanticised view of exotic Maldivians because they are all "connected to nature" in our minds! This was because President Anni said on Australian television that Maldivians were 'sea creatures', and we Aussies all dreamed we could also be such exotic sea creatures, so connected to nature and spiritual.

    We all wanted to be Maldivians!

    This Friday I met an Australian chap. We got talking about a multitude of issues. I said my Wife is from Maldives. He said "Oh, that country which hates non-Muslims?"

    Fairly dramatic perception transformation...

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  12. This has also happened on Meeru and needs looking into along with the staff offering to sell drugs to holiday makers

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