Maldives Sees 33% Drop In Indian Tourists Amid Diplomatic Row; Top Visiting Country

Maldives Sees 33% Drop In Indian Tourists Amid Diplomatic Row; Top Visiting Country - Merchant Navy Info - News

As bilateral relations between New Delhi and Male continue to deteriorate, a recent report citing data from the Maldives Ministry of Tourism shows that the number of Indian tourists visiting the country has dropped by 33% compared to March 2019. A report by Malé-based Adhadhu said that in March 2023, more than 41,000 Indian tourists visited the Maldives, while the number dropped to just 27,224 in March 2024,  a sharp decline of 33%.

The main reason for this decrease is the Indian government’s tourism campaign, encouraging people to explore the Lakshadweep archipelago. According to the report, until March 2023, India was the Maldives‘ second largest source of tourism, with a market share of 10%. However,  diplomatic tensions between the two countries caused India to drop to sixth place, with a 6% market share. While India is witnessing a significant decline in the number of tourists, China is seeing a sudden increase in the number of tourists visiting the Maldives. As the relationship between China and the Maldives strengthened, the country welcomed more than 54,000 tourists to the country in 2024.

Market School

China is now the number one country visiting the Maldives, leading a significant share of the market school. This island nation welcomed a total of 217,394 tourists in February this year, including more than 34,600 visitors from China. Notably, India will be the Maldives’ top tourism market in 2021, 2022, and 2023, with more than 200,000 tourists per year. Diplomatic conflict between India and the Maldives The Indian tourism market in the Maldives began to decline significantly after the appointment of President Mohamed Muizzu, who was known to be a pro-China leader. 


Muizzu also ordered the expulsion of Indian military personnel from the Maldives, increasing tensions between the two countries. Relations between the two countries deteriorated when Maldivian ministers made insulting comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media, sparking global outrage. President Muizzu visited China just a week after making insulting comments about Prime Minister Modi. He called on China to restore the tourism market in the Maldives to boost the island nation’s economy. Maldives President said: “China was our number one market before COVID-19, and I request that we increase our efforts to bring China back to that position.

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