Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Maldives hotels fight government spa ban

Holiday resorts in The Maldives are to challenge a government ruling which ordered the closure of all spas, massage parlours and health centres after an Islamist opposition party claimes they are front's for prostitution.

The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry which represents the island's hotels has said it will fight the ban and has applied for a temporary  injunction. The spa's are clearly a significant source of income for the hotels and a key reason why some 850,000 holiday makers travel to the islands each year.

It is also interesting to hear that many of the hotels have decided to ignore the ban and top end chains such as The Banyan Tree, Four Seasons and Shangri-La have decided to ignore the ban.

The ongoing conflict is part of a wider issue of rising Islamic fundamentalism in the Maldives which saw anti-semitic protests take place over the governments decision to allow direct flights from Israel to the Maldives. It is also reported that the Islamic groups could put further pressure on the government and campaign for an outright alcohol ban in hotels.

I am sure that once the government realises the importance of income from tourism it will decide against upsetting it's vistors holiday habits.

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