A number of countries have asked their citizens to exercise caution when visiting the Maldives, following the government’s decision to declare a State of Emergency. Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared a State of Emergency on February 5, for a 15-day period.

The Government assures the tourism and travel trade that all tourism-related businesses will be operating as usual and the situation in the Maldives remains stable, according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The State of Emergency does not force any restrictions on travelling to the Maldives or within the Maldives.

“All international airports including Velana International Airport and all domestic airports, tourist resorts, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, tourist accommodating vessels (safari boats), [and] marinas are in full operation. International and domestic flights, seaplane operations and all modes of transport are in operation.”

A number of countries have issued Travel Advisories in the wake of recent developments in the Maldives, urging citizens to exercise caution while travelling to the Maldives; India, China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia have issued Travel Advisories.

India, in its advisory, urged all Indian nationals to “defer all non-essential travels to Malé and other atolls until further notice. Indian expatriates in the Maldives are also alerted to the need for heightened security awareness, and urged to exercise due caution in public and avoid public gatherings.”

Speaking to the press on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said: “Given the security situation [in the Maldives], we advise the Chinese tourists who are now in the Maldives to closely follow the security situation and enhance self-protection. In the meanwhile, Chinese citizens are advised to avoid going to the Maldives until the situation on the ground is stabilised.”

“The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the Maldives will continue to closely follow the security situation and adjust the security alert level accordingly. Chinese citizens and institutions are advised to follow that closely,” Geng added.

The UK Foreign Office, in a Travel Advisory, urged its citizens visiting the Maldives to “exercise caution and avoid any protests or rallies; there are no reports that outlying islands, resorts or Malé International Airport are affected.”

In a Travel Advisory issued by the US State Department, it urged citizens to “avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”

Australia also urged its citizens for caution when travelling to the Maldives. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urged its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution on Malé Island due to the possibility of civil unrest.”

The Maldivian President’s Office assured that the safety of foreigners living in and visiting the Maldives will be ensured. “The State will ensure the security of all Maldivian citizens, expatriates, and tourists visiting the country,” assured Ibrahim Muaz Ali, Spokesperson at the President’s Office.

“The President has been compelled to declare a State of Emergency, due to the risk currently posed to national security,” said Ibrahim Hussain Shihab, the International Spokesperson at the President’s Office. “Throughout this unusual period, the safety of citizens and tourists will be ensured and there will be little change to people’s day-to-day business.”

Editor’s Note: Featured image courtesy of Ahmed Shuau (Obofili).