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MATATO calls on EaseMyTrip to open flight bookings to Maldives

Amid the row between India and the Maldives – triggered last week after three ministers’ comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi – the Maldives Association of Tour and Travel Operators (MATATO) has called on EaseMyTrip to re-open flight bookings, via its platform, to the island nation.

MATATO called on EaseMyTrip to disregard the “regrettable” comments, and said they “did not reflect sentiments of Maldivians in general”. The statement, addressed to EaseMyTrip CEO Nishant Pitti, underlined the importance of Indian tourists, who have topped foreign arrivals to the country post-Covid – to the Maldivian economy.

“In expressing our heartfelt gratitude for the enduring friendship and partnership that defines the relationship between the Maldives and India, we want you to know the bonds connecting our nations transcend politics. We consider our Indian counterparts… as cherished brothers and sisters.”

“Tourism stands as the lifeblood of the Maldives, contributing over two-thirds of our GDP and providing livelihoods to approximately 44,000 Maldivians who work in the sector. The potential adverse impact on tourism holds the power to unleash severe repercussions on our economy.”

MATATO called Indian tourists “an indispensable force in the success of the Maldivian tourism sector, providing vital support to guest houses and small to medium-sized enterprises…”

According to the Maldives Tourism Ministry, over two lakh Indians visited that country last year, and over 4.5 lakh travelled to the tropical paradise over the past two years. The Maldives was also one of the few countries open to tourists during the pandemic and nearly 63,000 Indians visited then.

MATATO also urged all to “refrain from contributing to divisiveness through hateful comments”.

The MATATO statement follows one by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry, or MATI, which slammed the “derogatory comments” directed at Prime Minister Modi.

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