Maldives Country Report
The Maldives concluded its presidential election on 23 September, when incumbent President Abdulla Yameen was defeated by opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Solih's victory effectively dissipates the likelihood of violent civil unrest – particularly in Malé – which was probable in the event of a Yameen victory, given allegations of vote rigging against him. Given that Yameen has conceded, the transfer of power will probably take place smoothly on 17 November 2018. In the post-election outlook, Solih will probably work to release jailed opposition leaders and Supreme Court judges, and ensure the return of exiled journalists and politicians, including former president Mohamed Nasheed. Solih is strongly supported by the Indian establishment, and his presidencywill probably allow India to rebuild its strategic influence in the Maldives.
Small strikes affecting resorts less than a week are likely due to disputes, most often over failure to follow salary agreements. The tourism sector, which accounts for nearly one-third of the Maldivian economy, is excluded from the 2008 Employment Act, limiting workers' means of recourse. For example, in April 2018 workers at Male's commercial port went on strike until the state-owned company doubled their fees, after limiting their permitted operating hours. Bribe demands are likely to remain common at all levels of the state on populated islands but are less likely to affect foreign businesses that operate tourist resorts.
The risk of terrorist attacks in the Maldives, especially outside the capital Malé, is low. The September 2007 IED attack near Sultan Park in Malé that injured 12 foreign tourists was probably motivated by then-president Maumoon Gayoom's dictatorial rule, rather than militant Islamism. Dozens of Maldivians travelled to fight with militant groups in Syria, but a more immediate threat than home-grown extremists (who are likely to value a safe haven in the Maldives) stems from violent criminal gangs. As a response to a heightened threat of terrorism worldwide, the government has adopted preventive measures towards threats, particularly to ease tourist fears.
Opposition supporters regularly organise increasingly well-attended protests in the capital Malé. Isolated resorts are highly unlikely to be affected. Mass arrests and fights with security forces are typical. The government is likely to encourage its supporters to rally in counter-protests. Infrequently criminal gangs are involved in rallies, increasing the risk of violence. However, the incidence of protests is likely to increase in the one-year outlook as the Yameen administration continues to crackdown on government dissidents and free speech advocates. In particular, protests are likely in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for September 2018.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Monsoon season hits the northeast of the Maldives from November to April and the southwest from May to October, during which flooding and transport disruptions are to be expected.
Due to the poor maintenance of much of the country's infrastructure (surface and rainwater drainage), it is common for heavy rainfall to cause widespread flooding in the capital that may impact traffic.
The Maldives was hit by a tsunami in 2004 that devastated the region. Since then, the country has rebuilt and modernized the vast majority of its tourism infrastructure (e.g. hotels).
Days in the Maldives tend to be sunny, although regular (but brief) showers are not uncommon during the two rainy seasons. The northeast monsoon brings rain from December to March and the southwest monsoon from May to October. Rain is the heaviest during the second monsoon season, with a peak of rainfall observed between June and July. Temperatures rarely fall below 25°C and the average ocean temperature is 28°C.
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