Resorts in Maldives owned by Singapore firms see some cancellations

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Several resorts owned by big Singapore hospitality players in the Maldives have seen some cancellations following a state of emergency imposed on Feb 5, and a travel advisory issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs against non-essential travel there.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines said that although there were a few cancellations, the impact has not been too significant. The international airport, located on another island separate from Male, the capital, remains operational.

President Abdulla Yameen had declared a state of emergency after a shock ruling by the Supreme Court which ordered the release from jail of former president Mohamed Nasheed - its first democratically elected leader - and eight other political prisoners, on grounds that the cases against them were politically tainted.

Three resorts operated by AccorHotels, the largest hotel operator in Singapore, saw a handful of last-minute cancellations. They are Mercure Maldives Kooddoo, Dhevanafushi Luxury Resort, and Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi, which will open with 120 luxury villas in April this year.

Mr Denis Dupart, general manager of the Fairmont, said that three advance bookings for the new resort have been cancelled. The Fairmont is owned by Singapore real estate private equity firm SC Capital Partners, while Dhevanafushi is owned by CDL Hospitality Trusts.

But, for the most part, bookings are strong, especially for Chinese New Year, he said.

Hotel Properties, owner of Four Seasons resorts in the Maldives, has seen "minimal queries for cancellations".

If anything, the hotels on Male may be affected a bit...Banyan Tree Holdings executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping

Banyan Tree Holdings executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping said his hotels there have not been affected so far.

"It's early days yet. If anything, the hotels on Male may be affected a bit, but all the resorts on their own islands will not feel any impact unless the main airport is disrupted," he said.

Most local travel agencies have not seen cancellations in tour bookings yet.

"Maldives is popular among honeymooners and some luxury incentive corporate groups. But we foresee that enquiries and bookings will decline significantly for the next two to three weeks," Dynasty Travel's marketing communications director Alicia Seah, said.