Male’ City Council denies plans to erect signs banning ‘immodest dressing’

Male’ City Council member Ahmed Falah has denied media reports today that the council has decided to put up sign boards banning immodest dressing to discourage tourists from wearing bikinis on beaches and other public areas in the capital.

Local newspaper Haveeru reported Male’ City Council member Ibrahim Shujau as telling the paper that the council had received complaints from the public that tourists had been wearing improper clothing around the capital’s beach. He reportedly said the council met with the Tourism Ministry and decided to put up sign board to inform tourists that improper clothing was not allowed.

However, Falah today said that the council has not made any such decision.

‘’I am sure that the council has not decided anything like that,’’ Falah said. ‘’Media reports are incorrect.’’

Speaking to Minivan News earlier this year, Secretary General of the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), ‘Sim’ Mohamed Ibrahim acknowledged that such occurrences would be a challenge for the mid-market tourism ambitions of the Maldives.

“The way it is currently structured is that alcohol is banned and there is a dress code for inhabited islands. Unless the regulations are changed – and I’m not saying they should be relaxed – tourist areas will need to be separated from local areas. In Male’ people cannot drink alcohol openly and nobody wears bikinis – it isn’t a problem.”

Ibrahim suggested that unless there were demarcated tourist areas, “there will always be these kinds of issues. It’s not an Adhaalath party issue or necessarily a religious issue – Western tourist dress is very different from traditional Maldivian dress.”

In April this year The Criminal Court sentenced a man to six months imprisonment after he was found guilty of ‘skinny dipping’ (swimming naked) in the Artificial Beach in Male’.