Turmoil in Maldives-Tourists switch to safer Seychelles


14-February-2012

The demonstrations that persist and the attempt to arrest the deposed President have sent shockwaves throughout the world of tourism.

Seychelles is poised to get the bulk of the tourists who were expected to go to Maldives

“Tourism and insecurity do not go together” a British tour operator told the press as he was trying to rebook clients to the nearby Seychelles Islands.

In Maldives, many politicians are running to islands where hotels exist in a bid to hide from the military set to arrest the peaceful protesters of last Thursday’s manifestation seeking the reinstatement of the ousted President.

From as far as China booked holiday-makers have been gripped by fear of travelling to an island destination where armed men have taken control of daily life. Tourists feel vulnerable of being caught in the crossfire with nowhere to run said a French tour operator.

Another operator from Asia said that the tourists could be used as human shield by those being hunted by the armed military who forced the elected President Nasheed to resign.
The wife and family of the ousted President have taken refuge in Sri Lanka as even her feared for her safety.

Many tour operators have been speaking to tourism professionals in Seychelles and Mauritius, both known and stable tourism destinations that lie but two hours plus from Maldives to get assurance that booking held for Maldives could be moved.

“We are all trade partners of the tourism business and it is important that we work with our tour operators to help them in relocating their bookings and ensure they do not lose their credibility as respected and reputable tour operators,” a hotel general manager said to a UK press.

Seychelles remains the tropical destination that offers similar alternatives to Maldives. They have over one hundred islands, which resemble those on which the Maldives have built their tourism industry.

They are just two hours from Maldives and they also enjoy the perfect summer climate with clear and clean blue seas and white sandy beaches.

“Bookings have to be moved because tourists cannot enjoy their holiday of a lifetime when a military coup is taking place” another British tour operator said as he was moving to contact Emirates, Qatar and Etihad Airlines to fly their booked passengers to Seychelles from London with little to no interruptions to their tropical holidays in the Indian Ocean.

Seychelles on their part said that they are more accessible today than they have ever been. “We are but one stop from anywhere in the world and air access today provides the best connectivity for our islands with any city in the world.

“We have 12 Emirates flights per week through Dubai, seven Qatar flights through Doha and Etihad and Air Seychelles jointly are now offering six flights through Abu Dhabi. We also have a weekly Condor nonstop flight from Frankfurt and the Italian airline Blue Panorama is starting a weekly nonstop service from Rome and Milan to Seychelles. Ethiopian Airlines is also starting a service from April with four flights per week from Addis Ababa and Kenya Airways operates to Seychelles from Nairobi in Kenya for those who combine an African safari with a beach holiday and Air Austral maintains the liaison between Seychelles and Reunion for those wanting to enjoy the spectacular mountains and the volcano crater of that French Island in the Indian Ocean,” a small hotel owner said in one breath to a British journalist on the phone.

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