#BoycottMaldives trending on X, tour operators brace for impact

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Bangaram, in Lakshadweep. Photo: PTI

At a time when Bollywood celebs are busy boycotting Maldives following a few of its politicians' recent tweets against PM Modi's endorsement of Lakshadweep, social media platform X is also filled with #boycottmaldives #exploreindianislands #lakshadweep hashtags. Taking after celebs like Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Ranveer Singh, and Varun Dhawan, and platforms like EaseMyTrip, many travel enthusiasts are also saying no to the Maldives, and are promoting domestic destinations. 

EaseMyTrip CEO and founder Nishant Pitti wrote on X that the platform has suspended all Maldives flight bookings in solidarity with our nation. Tour operators in various parts of the country are also reportedly saying that the impact of the boycott will be visible in the coming days. MakeMyTrip on Monday said it has observed a 3,400 percent increase in on-platform searches for Lakshadweep ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the islands. "We have observed a 3400 percent increase in on-platform searches for Lakshadweep ever since the Honorable PM's visit. This interest in Indian beaches has inspired us to launch a 'Beaches of India' campaign on the platform with offers and discounts to encourage Indian travellers to explore the country's stunning beaches. Keep watching this space," MakeMyTrip said in a post on the social media platform X.

Meanwhile, a few also trolled actor Ranveer Singh for using Maldives' photo to promote Lakshadweep. Funnily enough, comedian Virdas said that while Lakshadweep is getting some love, Indian influencers who are now in the Maldives are terrified of posting their vacation photos. An X user responded to him in jest that they should go ahead and post the pictures as both Lakshadweep and Maldives look the same. 

The government of Maldives on Sunday suspended its three deputy ministers after they criticised Modi for his post on X following his visit to Lakshadweep, inferring that it was an attempt to project the Union Territory as an alternative tourist destination to the Maldives. The Maldivian foreign ministry said the government is aware of "derogatory remarks" on social media platforms against foreign leaders and that the personal views do not represent its position.

Modi was in Lakshadweep on January 2 and 3 to inaugurate several projects. On January 4, Modi posted pictures of his undersea exploration on X and shared his "exhilarating experience" of the sojourn in the islands located in the Arabian Sea. "For those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them, Lakshadweep has to be on your list. During my stay, I also tried snorkelling - what an exhilarating experience it was," he wrote. Modi also shared pictures of his early morning walks on the pristine beaches of Lakshadweep and some moments of leisure, sitting on a chair by the beach.
(With PTI inputs)

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