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The Politics of Tourism: A Perspective from the Maldives

Henderson, Joan C. (2008): The Politics of Tourism: A Perspective from the Maldives. Published in: TOURISMOS: An International Multidisciplinary Refereed Journal of Tourism , Vol. 3, No. 1 (15 April 2008): pp. 99-115.

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The nature of the relationship between politics and tourism, encompassing the politics of religion, is examined in this paper with particular reference to the case of the Maldives. Although marketed as a tropical island paradise, the country is experiencing political uncertainty due to challenges to the long standing government from a democratic movement and religious radicalism. These trends and their impacts on tourism, which itself is a topic of political debate, are explained and the tourism industry is seen to overlook discordant political and religious realities in its promotion. However, it is argued that a destination’s politics cannot be ignored and that there must be awareness amongst all stakeholders and appropriate responses to political events if tourism is to deal successfully with turbulent times.

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