Maldives overturns 'brief' guesthouse promotion ban at ITB Berlin fair

Haveeru Daily: The tourism ministry has lifted a brief ban on Maldives guesthouse promotion at the world’s largest travel and tourism fair, ITB Berlin.

Akhmeem Abdul Razzaq, the managing director of Maldives Getaways which releases the annual guesthouse promotion magazine “Guesthouses Maldives”, told Haveeru on Wednesday that the order to stop guesthouse promotions at ITB Berlin was issued from tourism ministry’s director general Aishath Ali. However, tourism minister Moosa Zameer had lifted the ban shortly afterwards.

“We came here after paying the participation fees at MMPRC (Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation) as well. We were at the stall when Aishath Ali ordered that we cannot [promote guesthouses]. Later we spoke with the minister for permission again,” Akhmeem said from Berlin, Germany.

Akhmeem reported that no explanations had been given on the sudden ban imposed on guesthouse promotion at the fair. Their guesthouse promotion books at the stall had also been held back.

“We told them that if there was a problem it should be solved at the authorities as per policy. We spent thousands of dollars to come here; suddenly giving an order that we can’t [promote guesthouses] is ridiculous.”

According to Akhmeem, 100 guesthouses across the Maldives are being promoted at the ITB Berlin fair.

Meanwhile, an official of MMPRC explained that the ban on Guesthouses Maldives’ activities was issued because their promotions include 15 guesthouses that have not been registered at the tourism ministry. The ministry had earlier informed Guesthouses Maldives that unregistered guesthouses cannot be promoted.

“We requested that they do not include false information in their promotions, because we need to provide factual information to every tourist that visits the Maldives. After they agreed to it, their activities are underway again,” said the official.

ITB Berlin began Wednesday and continues through Sunday with 185 countries participating, including 281 officials and 96 companies from the Maldives. The Maldives is the main sponsor and host of this year’s ITB fair.


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