India slips to 5th place on Maldives’ tourism charts amid diplomatic tensions | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Tourist traffic from India to Maldives witnessed a notable drop in the last three weeks amid an ongoing diplomatic spat between the two countries, according to official figures.
Data shared by the Maldives’ tourism ministry shows that India has slipped from the third to the fifth position among the top 10 tourism markets in Maldives in the last three weeks.
India’s market share stands at 8% as of January 28, with China and UK surpassing the country, claiming the third and fourth positions respectively.
The development comes in the backdrop of heightened diplomatic tensions between India and Maldives after three Maldivian ministers posted derogatory remarks in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep.
The ministers were suspended amid a massive backlash from India. However, the remarks triggered a boycott campaign in India.
Amid the diplomatic row, several Indian travel agencies canceled flight bookings to the Maldives as a gesture of solidarity. Social media platforms witnessed the hashtag #BoycottMaldives trending, accompanied by reports of canceled trips.
Earlier, Indian constituted a significant portion of the Maldives’ tourism market, accounting for nearly 11% of the total tourists in 2023.
According to data from the Maldives’ tourism ministry, out of a total of 174,400 arrivals in January (till January 28), 13,989 were Indians, securing the fifth spot with an 8% market share. The top four nations sending the most tourists to the Maldives in January 2024 were Russia (18,561), Italy (18,111), China (16,529), and the UK (14,588).
Comparatively, in December 2023, Russia led with a 24.1% market share, while India held the second position with a 23.4% share.
In 2023, Indians were the largest group of tourists with over 2 lakh travelers, followed by Russians and the Chinese. India also maintained its position as the top market in 2021 and 2022 with over 2.91 lakh and 2.41 lakh Indian tourist arrivals, respectively.Watch Maldivian Opposition criticizes Muizzu government’s ‘anti-India stance’

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