‘Boycott Maldives’: What senior execs of Indian travel websites EaseMyTrip, MakeMyTrip and Ixigo have to say

The ‘Boycott Maldives‘ call has gathered further momentum. While Sunday (January 7) saw celebrities and influencers condemning hateful comments by some Maldives ministers againsts Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India, Monday saw Indian travel companies joining in.
“In solidarity with our nation, @EaseMyTrip has suspended all Maldives flight bookings,” EaseMyTrip cofounder and CEO Nishant Pitti posted on X. “We want Ayodhya and Lakshadweep to turn out as international destinations,” he said.
Online travel website MakeMyTrip‘s chief marketing and business officer Raj Rishi Singh said Lakshadweep has seen a 3,400% increase in on-platform searches ever since PM Modi’s visit. The company has also announced a campaign to promote beaches in India. “NewsFlash: We have observed a 3400% 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 travelers to explore the country’s stunning beaches. Keep watching this space!,” read the company’s post.
Aloke Bajpai, cofounder and group CEO of online travel agency Ixigo, said on X that there has been a “2,900% increase in searches to Lakshadweep in the last 3-4 days!”. Bajpai also shared an image that showed how Indians were the top tourists in the island nation during 2023. “Official statistics from the tourism ministry website of Maldives. India was their top source market in 2023,” he said in the post.
How the controversy started
Three deputy ministers in the Ministry of Youth Affairs in Maldives — Maryam Shiuna, Malsha Shareef, and Mahzoom Majid — made derogatory comments following PM Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep to promote local tourism.
ICC makes an appeal
The Indian Chamber of Commerce also issued an “appeal to boycott Maldives”. Travel industry veteran Subhash Goyal, who heads ICC’s aviation and tourism committee, has appealed to all Indian trade associations to “stop promoting Maldives in view of the anti-India feelings expressed by ministers of Maldives.” “Please divert all such queries to Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands which are even better than Maldives in many ways.. other destinations that can be promoted in the Indian Ocean region are Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bali, Phuket etc,” he said.
Goyal “appealed” Indian carriers to suspend flights to Maldives and asked Indian hotel companies to invest in Lakshadweep “for better returns.” Goyal’s STC Travels has also stopped selling Maldives (packages, tickets etc), he added.