'Boycott Maldives' trending on X, Indians cancel travel amid India-Maldives row - Hindustan Times
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'Boycott Maldives' trending on X, Indians cancel travel amid India-Maldives row

Jan 08, 2024 08:46 PM IST

Many travel buffs have opted to cancel their upcoming Maldives vacation plans, prompting travel agencies to remove the Maldives’ category from their websites.

After a tense online debate sparked by derogatory remarks from a Maldivian minister about photos of PM Narendra Modi’s Lakshadweep visit, the travel industry felt an unprecedented impact. Many travel buffs have opted to cancel their upcoming Maldives vacation plans, prompting certain travel agencies to remove the Maldives’ category from their websites.

On Monday, EaseMyTrip became the first major tour operator to exclude the destination from its portal by disabling users from selecting any packages.
On Monday, EaseMyTrip became the first major tour operator to exclude the destination from its portal by disabling users from selecting any packages.

According to Riaz Munshi, president of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), “We have observed some cancellations for the Maldives alongside a linear increase in interest for Lakshadweep. Some association agents have temporarily paused taking bookings for the destination.”

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On Monday, EaseMyTrip became the first major tour operator to exclude the destination from its portal by disabling users from selecting any packages. “We will not accept any bookings for the Maldives. We are looking at building our own treasures; Lakshadweep will turn out to be an equivalent international destination,” says co-founder of EaseMyTrip, Prashant Pitti. Meanwhile, Raj Rishi Singh, chief marketing and business officer, MakeMyTrip, notes: “3,400% increase in on-platform searches for Lakshadweep ever since PM’s visit. This interest in Indian beaches has inspired us to launch a Beaches of India campaign with offers and discounts.”

On the upside, mentioning how this move will be “a great boost for Lakshwadeep”, Neha Sudan, the digital creator behind Breathtaking Postcards on Instagram, says, “The new influx of tourism will not only help the economy and further tourism development, but will also promote more people to explore unknown beach hideaways without jumping straight to Maldives or Mauritius for their honeymoons and getaways.” And recently back from her trip to the Andamans, influencer and travel vlogger, Shenaz Treasury adds, “Maldives is super expensive and only accessible to the very rich and famous. Instead, we can totally go to Lakshadweep or Andamans. In the Andamans, the locals were complaining to me about how the tourists treat the island. We need to treat our country as we treat foreign nations, that is with respect and love for Nature.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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