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Will tourism in Maldives decline after US, UK release terror advisories? 

(Representational image courtesy: Twitter/@visitmaldives)

The US and the UK governments have issued advisories that travelers to the Maldives may face threats related to terror incidents or due to civil unrest at tourist locations, transportation hubs, local government facilities or shopping areas.

The US government warned that terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, which are likely to occur on remote islands, therefore, lengthening the response time of authorities. It advised its nationals to obtain assistance from the US embassy which is located in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Maldivian news website Raaje says that even the British government has come out with similar travel advice for the Maldives.

The travel advice says that terrorists may try to target the archipelago nestled in the Indian Ocean. It highlighted past terror incidents like the assassination attempt on former president Mohamed Nasheed, who had been attacked with an improvised explosive device (IED) on 6 May 2021.

There have been other attacks as well. An arson attack on a police speedboat in Gan island and knife attacks against three foreigners in Hulhumalé.

In June 2022, radical elements had disrupted Yoga celebrations being conducted by the Indian High Commission. The mob overran the venue of the yoga event shouting slogans and waving flags with Islamic scriptures.

Environment Minister Ali Solih was stabbed near capital Male in August 2022 and he escaped with injuries to his left arm.

Highlighting frequent anti-government protests in capital Male, the British government has advised travelers to avoid rallies and protests. Though the UK considers the Maldives to be largely trouble-free, it did say that its nationals are facing issues over lost or stolen passports and accidents related to swimming and diving.

The Maldives remains one of the top-most visited destinations with tourists flocking from India, Russia, China and Western nations for its pristine beaches and transparent clean waters. The Maldives is a known destination for yoga and meditation retreats as well.

The small South Asian country, with just over half a million people, is beset with rising radicalism and extremist influence. It had many people rushing to foreign lands to fight for ISIS and other terror groups, making the nation itself vulnerable to attacks. The country is also trying to tackle the confounded issue of Maldivian women and children who have been held up at the Al Hol and Roj camps in Syria.