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Maldives crisis: Will tourist inflow continue?

Feb 20, 2012 09:01 AM IST India India

Male: The unrest in Maldives not just has political implications, but its biggest casualty could be the island's biggest source of income. But luckily, the tourist hotspot still remains a favoured holiday destination.

It is for the silver beaches, the turquoise water and the good life that the rich and the famous from across the world come holidaying to enjoy the sunny side of life. It's the many resorts, mostly top-end that fund the country's economy. They account for 28 per cent of GDP, more than 60 per cent of the foreign exchange receipts and 90 per cent of government tax recipts.

But since the coup on February 7 and the brutal crackdown by police and army on deposed President Mohammed Nasheed and his supporters, the fear is that the country's biggest money-spinner will take a hit.

Hussain Hilmy, owner of the Coco Palm resorts, is scared.

"After what has happened, we estimate that the loss for the economy could be around $ 100 million in the next six months," Hilmy said.

But despite a flurry of cancellations, tourists from across the world are still flocking in.While some are scared, some say they will avoid capital Male.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy. The fear is that already facing an economic crunch, Maldives might slide further if tourism is hit.