The Maldives Just Extended the State of Emergency for 30 Days

Feb 20, 2018

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Two weeks after the government of the Maldives declared a state of emergency amid rising political tension, Parliament approved a 30-day extension that, among other grave consequences, may result in serious damages to the economy, scaring away international visitors.

On February 20, president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom requested to extend the Maldives state of emergency for a total of 45 days.

The Maldives government and the Ministry of Tourism have emphasized their commitment to safety for civilians and tourists alike.

The emergency “shall only apply to those alleged to have carried out illegal activities — it shall not apply to otherwise law-abiding residents of, or visitors to, the Maldives,” Yameen’s office said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The opposition Jumhooree Party says the approval of the extension is illegal, and a number of countries, including the US, Canada, China, and India, along with the United Nations, have urged Yameen to lift the state of emergency in order to restore normalcy.

The extension may have severe long-term impact on the nation’s economy, as tourism has already been affected by the unrest.  Tourism is the backbone of the country’s economy, and tour operators have reported hundreds of daily cancellations since the state of emergency was imposed on February 5.

“Despite the State of Emergency, the country is functioning as normal as possible,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism told TPG Tuesday before the extension was approved. “Schools and government offices are in operation and we do not foresee any threats to the public or tourists. We, too are continuing with the promotional activities of the destination.”

For the most part, tourists will barely spend any time in Malé, the nation’s capital, as most resorts offer transfers by speedboat or ferry. In fact, this might be the perfect time for the right traveler to visit one of TPG’s favorite destinations, especially when booking award travel using points and miles.

Featured photo of security forces in Male, by STR/AFP/Getty Images

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