Tourists to the Maldives should protest and be “mindful” about what is happening in the country, former president Mohamed Nasheed has said.
Nasheed, who made the comments in an interview published Wednesday, said holidaymakers should call for the protection of human rights, the resignation of President Abdulla Yameen and the release of political prisoners.
“Tourists should be mindful about what’s happening in the Maldives; they really should be mindful,” he told The Diplomat. “You should have your good life, you should enjoy your holiday, but it’s important also to be aware of where we are coming from while you are there, the difficulties we are going through. Every little thing helps. A picture you tweet from your holiday helps.”
He was asked how they could protest.
“A billboard, a T-shirt. And I would seriously encourage for goodness sake they must do it. They must be coming to the Maldives with T-shirts blaring,” he replied.
Scores of people were arrested during anti-government protests and riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds.
Travel advisories from key markets failed to make a dent on visitor arrival numbers for February, however, and the government gave repeated assurances that the unrest was confined to the capital and resorts were unaffected.
It has been claimed, however, that the tourism industry was losing US$20 million a day and facing “financial ruin” since the state of emergency was declared.
Tourism accounts for a third of the Maldives’ gross domestic product, measured at $3.5 billion in 2017.