EaseMyTrip Halts Maldives Flight Bookings Amid Diplomatic Row

January 8, 2024 — In a significant development reflecting the growing tensions between India and the Maldives, the prominent Indian online travel company, EaseMyTrip, has announced the suspension of all flight bookings to the Maldives. 

This move comes as a direct response to recent derogatory remarks made against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the nation by several now-suspended ministers from the Maldives.

Background of the Controversy

The controversy erupted following PM Modi's visit to Lakshadweep, with certain Maldivian ministers posting disparaging remarks on social media. These comments sparked an uproar in India, leading to widespread calls for a boycott of the Maldives as a tourist destination. In a swift action, the Maldivian government suspended the ministers in question to mitigate the diplomatic fallout.

EaseMyTrip's Stance

Nishant Pitti, the CEO and cofounder of EaseMyTrip, took to social media to declare the company's solidarity with India. In his statement, he stressed the importance of national pride and the company's commitment to supporting the nation in times of diplomatic strife. This decision is seen as part of a broader #BoycottMaldives movement that has been gaining traction on various social media platforms.

Image Source: X

Impact on Tourism

The Maldives has long been a favored destination for Indian tourists, with significant numbers visiting the island nation each year. However, the recent developments and the call for a boycott are expected to significantly impact tourism flows. The Indian Association of Tour Operators has reported a noticeable drop in inquiries and bookings for the Maldives, signaling a potential shift in tourist preferences.

Promotion of Domestic Tourism

In a parallel development, EaseMyTrip has launched the #ChaloLakshadweep campaign, aiming to promote domestic tourism within India. The campaign highlights the natural beauty and serenity of Lakshadweep, positioning it as a viable alternative to international beach destinations. This initiative has received support from various Indian celebrities, further boosting its visibility and appeal.

Maldivian Government's Position

In response to the crisis, the Maldivian foreign ministry has acknowledged the derogatory remarks but clarified that these do not reflect the government's official stance. The swift suspension of the ministers involved demonstrates the government's commitment to resolving the issue and maintaining healthy diplomatic relations with India.

Looking Forward

As the situation unfolds, the travel and tourism industry is closely monitoring the impact of these developments. The suspension of flight bookings by EaseMyTrip is a significant move that underscores the interconnectedness of diplomacy and commerce in today's globalized world.

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