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Guesthouse business in distress, amidst the unrest

Tourists at a guesthouse

The original Dhivehi article was published on Avas.mv website on 7th February 2018.

The following is a loose translation:

This was also how the Maldives was in February 2012. At that time’s political unrest, it really affected the Maldives’ economic backbone, the tourism industry. A lot of important markets were lost. 6 years later. It is again the same scene. After a Supreme Court’s order, the whole country is in turmoil now. Followed by president declaring a state of emergency, that resulted in most countries to issue travel advisories to the Maldives. It had impacted the tourism industry. The biggest fear is for the guesthouse industry. Therefore, this business is right now is in doubts.

‘Political unrest affects the tourism industry. With how things are it poses are a major threat to the guesthouses. This is a concern,’ said Mohamed Karam, President of Guesthouse Association of Maldives (GAM).

In about 500 guesthouses in the Maldives, there are 6778 beds. This area has played a key role in maintaining the tourism occupancy in the Maldives. Due to this area, resorts also earn more. A significant portion of tourists who come to stay in guesthouses also go to resorts. Therefore, resorts now benefit from guesthouses. But after the travel advisories from various countries, bookings are getting cancelled and there is a threat to this business.

Even if a single tourist is lost to a guesthouse it will affect the whole economy. What could be the reason? Although many strong businessmen have invested in islands and are doing businesses, the guesthouses are connected to families.

There are 150 rooms, in just at Alifu Alifu Atoll Thoddoo island itself. And the other jobs are also connected to the guesthouse business. However, after experiencing booking cancellations in guesthouses, loss is inevitable.

People from some guesthouses while speaking to Avas news said, booking cancellation due travel advisory is a concern.

‘Chinese tourists had also cancelled their bookings. What is most surprising is that the travel advisory issued by China says not to travel to the Maldives during this period. It is a concern,’ a source revealed.

Dr Abdulla Mausoom, former General Manager of Sun Island Resort said China cautioning their citizens not to travel to the Maldives will have huge adverse effects on the Tourism industry.

‘China market is a strange market. You have to work hard to obtain that market. Therefore, to overcome this situation, the concerned authorities have to do a lot of work.

Due to the current instability, it is affecting Maldives tourism industry. Especially to the guesthouses.

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