The Maldives has always been a country where tourism is the oxygen that keeps our communities running. It is what the world knows us for and it is this beautiful view of paradise on earth that has kept bringing millions of tourists over the years to our beautiful country.
One of the most profitable business in the Maldives is to have a business in the field of tourism. Be it a big resort, small budget hotel, guest house or the countless numbers of travel agencies, safari operators and water activities small businesses. All these businesses are owned and benefited by all people of our peaceful country.
No matter what disagreements we have between ourselves politically, we have always agreed that tourism should not be touched because it will hurt people across the country and make it extremely difficult for ordinary people who work hard every day to earn enough for his or her expenses. Many times those that work under tourism-related businesses use their income to support and help their direct family, extended relatives and friends in time of hardship.
From the time the Maldivian Democratic Party leader Nasheed stepped down from power, he and few of his hardcore supporters have tried to request their Western allies to support a boycott movement of the Maldives by international travelers. They puffed, and they puffed with all their strength but failed as the country saw incoming travelers steadily grow each year, ignoring the political calls by Nasheed as well as his international lawyer Amal Clooney and friends.
However, after the failed recent coup orchestrated by India and the United States, the Maldivian Democratic Party has been using the digital media to scare potential tourists from our country. They have been going on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram daily posting the same images of the same protesters getting dragged by the police as they try to resist arrest.
This might not look important to the ordinary Maldivian at first. But imagine international travelers that used to search on the Maldives online and they would see tons and tons of beautiful images of the country, showing how as other parts of the world there is war and natural disasters, the Maldives is a place they can visit safely and expect the best of Maldivian hospitality. This hospitality comes from all Maldivians because at the end of the day it benefits all Maldivians.
But this is not the case anymore, what Nasheed and his team overseas and some supporters inside the country are doing is flooding the internet with the same images or hundreds of similar images to make it look like there are chaos and destruction in the Maldives. To give the impression to foreigners that the Maldives is today like Iraq or Syria and they should stay away. Why would they do this when they know that this will hurt every Maldivian that depends on our country’s tourism to get the salary they are getting now.
If tourism falls, the economy will fall, and businesses would have to fire more staff and eventually there will be fewer jobs. If the economy slumps and the beautiful image of the Maldives get destroyed, it will last decades and potential investors will not see the country as an attractive place to invest. Especially if they fear the type of violence that MDP leaders are falsely claiming the country to be under.
When a father or mother gets their salary late because the tourism-related company they work for did not make enough money that month, then will Nasheed take the blame or will he continue to use dirty propaganda to always blame the government and maybe even Islam for anything wrong that happens in our society?