Maldives Travel Advisory Updated After State of Emergency Declared

Maldivian opposition protestors shout slogans demanding the release of political prisoners during a protest in Male, Maldives.
Photo by AP Photo/Mohamed Sharuhaan via Newscred

Civil unrest in the Maldives is causing concern but the Maldives Ministry of Tourism and resorts are reassuring travelers that the destination is safe to visit. However, the State Department has updated its travel advisory for the Maldives after the government declared a state of emergency and sent troops in to the Supreme Court in the capital city of Malé.

The latest State Department travel advisory for the Maldives is set at Level 2 out of 4, “Exercise Increased Caution,” due to terrorism and civil unrest. It had previously been listed as a Level 2; however, the advisory itself was updated to reflect the current situation.

“Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” the State Department wrote on its website. “Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.”

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The State Department also warned that security forces have been deployed in the capital to prevent public gatherings and anti-government demonstrations. There have also been protests in Maafushi, where political prisoners are being held. Travelers to the Maldives are advised to avoid demonstrations and crowds, as well as to monitor local media for breaking events.

CNN reports that Maldives President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency after defying a Supreme Court ruling to reinstall opposition MPs and release political prisoners. Security forces have “blockaded and locked the Supreme Court building from outside,” according to former Attorney General Husnu Al Suood. In a televised address, Yameen said that the Supreme Court had acted “hastily” and that his actions were designed to prevent a coup.

The Maldives Ministry of Tourism reports that the state of emergency will be in place for the next 15 days, but that all tourism related businesses “will be operating as usual and the situation in the Maldives remains stable.”

“The State of Emergency does not force any restrictions on traveling to the Maldives or within the Maldives,” the Ministry of Tourism said. “All international airports including Velana International Airport [also known as Malé International Airport] and all domestic airports, tourist resorts, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, tourist accommodating vessels (safari boats), marinas are in full operation. International and domestic flights, sea plane operations and all modes of transport are in operation.”

On its website the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives wrote that it is continuing to operate as usual, including Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah and Four Seasons Explorer. The resort noted that political events in the Maldives are typically confined to the capital island of Malé and do not affect the resort islands.

“The situation in the capital is calm,” the Four Seasons resort wrote. “Malé International Airport, which is located on another island (Hulhule), separate from the capital, is operating as usual. We do not expect any disruption to air services.”

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