Qataris still welcome, Maldives says after severing diplomatic ties

Qatari nationals are still welcome in the Maldives, the island nation announced Wednesday despite severing diplomatic ties.

The Maldives said on Monday it was severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, following a coordinated move by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who accused the Gulf state of supporting terrorism.

“The Government of Maldives confirms that there will be no travel restrictions to Qatari nationals to enter and travel in Maldives,” a separate tweet by the foreign ministry on Wednesday read.

Middle East has become an important emerging source market for the Maldives tourism industry, but Qatar’s market share has been on the decline. Official figures show that 903 Qatari tourists visited the Maldives in the first four months of this year — a 33.7 percent drop from 1,361 in the same period last year.

Qatar Airways is popular amongst travellers from Europe who often transit in Doha before flying to the Maldives.

The Maldives government has stressed that the decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar will not affect any commercial and economic links between the two nations.

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