Updated January 8th, 2024 at 15:42 IST
THIS Portal Suspends all Maldives Bookings as #BoycottMaldives Trends, Promotes #ChaloLakshadweep
EaseMyTrip had responded to the Maldives crisis by suspending all bookings, leading Indian tourists to shift their focus to the #ChaloLakshadweep campaign.
#BoycottMaldives-#ChaloLakshadweep: In response to derogatory remarks made by Maldives ministers against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, EaseMyTrip's co-founder and CEO, Nishant Pitti, took a stand in support of India by announcing the suspension of all flight bookings to the Maldives. Expressing solidarity, Pitti declared on social media, "In solidarity with our nation, EaseMyTrip has suspended all Maldives flight bookings."
Amidst the escalating row between India and the Maldives, a social media campaign with the hashtag ‘#BoycottMaldives’ gained momentum as Indian tourists began cancelling their planned trips to the island nation. This upheaval was triggered by Maldivian politicians who made disparaging remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and belittled his visit to Lakshadweep, portraying it as a mere tourist destination for Indians.
Responding to this, EaseMyTrip initiated the #ChaloLakshadweep campaign, promoting the beauty of the water and beaches in Lakshadweep as being on par with destinations like Maldives and Seychelles. Co-founder Prashant Pitti affirmed, “Water & beaches of Lakshadweep are as good as Maldives/Seychelles. We at EaseMyTrip will come up with crazy special-offers to promote this pristine destination that our PM Narendra Modi has recently visited!”
The Indian Association of Tour Operators predicted a substantial impact on travel plans to the Maldives within the next few weeks due to the boycott calls. Rajiv Mehra, president of the association, noted a sudden decline in inquiries and bookings, emphasising that while those who have already paid might not cancel, future reservations might dwindle significantly.
Indian tourists constitute a significant portion of visitors to the Maldives, with the country's tourism ministry data showing that till December 2023, Indians formed the largest group of tourists (2,09,198), followed closely by Russia and China. However, the recent controversy has already shown repercussions, as the sudden drop in interest and bookings has been noticeable among Indian travellers.
Following the uproar, three Maldivian ministers faced suspension over their derogatory remarks against PM Modi. This move was made by the Maldives government in response to the massive backlash triggered by the comments made on social media platforms.
Concurrently, Indian celebrities from the film industry initiated the ‘#ExploreIndianIslands campaign’, encouraging visits to Lakshadweep amidst the escalating tensions between India and the Maldives.
The comments and predictions from industry experts highlight the significant impact that political statements can have on travel decisions, potentially reshaping tourist preferences and destinations in the near future.
Published January 8th, 2024 at 07:55 IST