The Maldives Government recently ordered that all spas in luxury hotels in the Maldives should be closed. The order followed protests by the opposition Islamist Adhaalath Party which claimed the spas were breaching Islamic law.
More than 850,000 tourists visit the 1,100 coral islands and atolls that make up the Maldives. Vacations typically include sunbathing, snorkelling and diving on the beautiful coral reefs along with spa treatments and massage. The destination is popular with wealthy celebrities and honeymooners looking for a quiet place to relax in the tropical sunshine. Luxique.com offers ten top luxury resorts in the Maldives, most with five star amenities.
Although all resort hotels were ordered to close their spas and health centres with immediate effect, many chose to disobey the ruling to preserve their business. The Maldives Association of Tourism (MATI) has vowed to fight the ban on behalf of the island’s hotels as tourism is crucial to the economy of the Maldives.
In the latest move, the President of the Maldives has ordered the country’s upscale spas to reopen pending the Supreme Court’s decision on whether spas violate Islamic beliefs. Mr Nasheed said, “To be racist in any way is detrimental to the tourism industry” and he acknowledged this was not the way for the Maldives to go. He advocates a brand of moderate Islam traditionally practised in the country, which he sees is vital to preserve tourism in the Maldives.