Can I fly my latest DJI drone in resort?

This is a frequent question guests ask while in resort. Most guests buy their drones before coming holiday and have the idea to use the holiday time to practice drone skills. Some even bring high end photography drones to capture their happy moments. The answer depends on the resort they are staying. Some high end resorts which often hosts celebrities limit drone use for guests citing privacy issues of other guests. In such a situation its likely guests will be directed to a nearby uninhibited island or to supervised sessions with resort’s security personnel. Drone use can also be a problem if resort hosts a sea plane platform and frequent sea plane transfers happen on the island. It just takes a few distracted seconds before a sea plane appears in the resort’s lagoon out of nowhere.

On the other side, aerial videos and shots by guests is free marketing by guests which has tremendous value. 

Also with a recent update to small businesses rules, the authorities forbid proffessional photography equipments to be imported, with the exception of registered media outlets or locals for personal use. So its always better to check with resort before bringing expensive photography drones to resort. 

Tourist arrivals increasing

deepika-katrina-vacation759

Its good news for all the resort owners and workers alike. Tourists are again finding Maldives attractive and are filling the resorts in good numbers. According to stats from Tourism Ministry, average occupancy in resorts now is above 70% with 3.6% increase over same period from last year. The increase from last month was 11.4% compared to last year same period.

Most Visitors by nationality:

  1. England +11.7
  2. Italy +10.2
  3. Germany +2.2
  4. France -3.2
  5. China -10.6
  6. Russia +4.4
  7. India +45

From the stats its apparent that the Chinese market is dwindling because of the higher rates at this time of the year. A surprising increase is from India, which may well be caused by popularity among wealthy Bollywood celebrities visiting Maldives.

According to tourism ministry stats, there are 110 resorts operating in Maldives with occupancy average of 74%. Average stay duration for tourist is 5.6 nights.

 

Dusit Thani Maldives

Chinese couple rescued after 16 hours at sea.

 

chinese-guests-vaadhoo

Two Chinese tourists were rescued by Coast Guard after their transparent seabed drifted out in the lagoon, and out into the sea. The tourists were found by cost guard air craft and rescued shortly after they were spotted. After being taken from the sea they were transported to ADK hospital for checkup. After checkup, they were released as their condition was good.

Image result for vaadhoo adaaran prestige

Adhaaran Prestige Vaadhoo Island Resort is just south of capital Male’ with a big lagoon and beautiful reefs much popular with Chinese guests. The approximate location of the guests when they were rescued would be 12 miles west north west of Vaadhoo.

vaadhoo-guests-rescued

Image source :https://mihaaru.com/news/9472

It’s a political State of emergency… Not a real one!

Today is just another day Maldives is making headlines again for all the wrong reasons. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as tourist high season is just beginning and the country depends heavily on tourism revenues.

bomb disposal unit  checking on a reported IED

bomb disposal unit checking on a reported IED

The government all of a sudden declared state of emergency across the whole country citing security concerns. Specifically the authorities believe a container of explosives and fire arms has been imported to the country from China (by VP and his partners) and some elements are planning to use them against the president. The president already survived an IED attach on his boat after he returned from Hajj and the VP has since been arrested and kept in detention pending charges of “high treason” according to the home minister. The VP is accused of all sorts of crimes including running gangs, influencing police and military, bribing institutions etc. and its very likely that there are some elements of truth in these charges and that he will be given long prison sentences. The parliament is already trying to impeach him without the support of the biggest opposition party MDP, which means a crucial 5 votes needed to pass the impeachment motion will have to be either bought or ransomed for the release of former president Nasheed (who is also in jail) or whichever is less costlier for the current government.

mdp demo

Opposition MDP rally against the governement

However the view from across the public is of deep mistrust as this state of emergency looks very much an effort to stop huge demonstrations against the government for detention of several politicians including the former president Nasheed and Sheikh Imran the leader of Adhaalath party. What is most apparent in these unfortunate events is that the decree to impose state of emergency also includes clause halving the number of days the VP can prepare to answer to the parliament in the no confidence motion. The stated reason for the state of emergency namely about loose weapons posing danger to the public shall have nothing to do with the number of days VP can get to prepare for his defense. It’s also true that the current government has very little public support and is in deep trouble with public opinion locally and globally. Imprisoning politicians, stifling dissent and ruling under state of emergency should not be the way forward for Maldives. Maldives is such a sunny country we can do better than this.

For the record we can say that Maldives is as sunny as always and there are no threats to life or property and guests are unlikely to be ever harmed in their holidays. What is happening inside is crude political drama and is more hype than substance.

In current resort news…

Holiday island workers abstaining from work because the employer has not paid the Ramadan bonus and service charge for the last 6 months. The workers are demanding the employer provide a date whereby the employer can pay what is owed to the workers. All workers except two are abstaining from work. The Villa group of resorts have been struggling for sometime due to the political pressure by being against the current regime which at one time had actually cancelled some trading licenses for the groups businesses. The Villa group is just barely surviving after having to give in to lots of demands by the government which included the chairman Gasim of promising not to contest the presidential election come 2018.

Source: http://www.vaguthu.mv/news/317455/

https://maldivesresortworkers.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/alidhoo.jpg?w=306

Alidhoo is a four star resort owned and managed by yacht tours. The resort employs only 15 local staff and the rest are expatriates. Some of the staff have not been paid for 8 months. Some have been working without pay for 11 months. Alidhoo has been in the news for all the bad reasons for some time as a notorious employer and the chairman of the group that controls the resort is a politician who is allied with the current ruling party.

Source: http://www.vaguthu.mv/news/317460/

Tourists stopped en route to Diego Garcia!

An ambitious project by German and Italian tourists possibly to demonstrate against the Diego Garcia was prematurely stopped by the Maldives forces after it has emerged that a group of tourists had rented a fishing boat and were heading to that direction with 5k litres of diesel, a dingy and other items. According to local media, the dhoni was hired by a group of 7 tourists and was hired for 2 days. It’s not uncommon for tourists to arrange big game fishing trips on big dhonis. Hiring dhonis by tourists has never been an issue before. However this time the authorities suspect the tourists were actually planning to do a surprise visit Diego Garcia or demonstrate the forcible removal of its inhabitants in 1973.

Male’ braced for big Mayday rally.

Mayday rally used to be a simple affair in Male’ mostly organized by TEAM. Often times the rally is attended by less than 100 and looks more like a cause for resort workers as others don’t seem interested.  But this time it’s looking like it’s going to be different. Mayday for once is going to be attended in good numbers and for a good reason.  Apart from the ruling party PPM, every other party has joined the effort to free former president Nasheed and some other high ranking officials of the previous administration who have recently been jailed on trumped up charges. Amnesty international and EU has backed the calls for releasing the former president and former defense minister Nazim as the legal proceedings that landed them in jail were neither free from political interference nor just. It remains to be seen how the popular anger against the political trials and injustices are going to be heard by the ruling minority led government which has shown amazing naivety in thinking they can mask the discontent by threats and intimidation and remain non committal to popular sentiments.

Politics being politics every party will take as much advantage as they can out of situations and frequently lie their way through situations making small things appear big, tiny problems appear as huge but there are very good reasons for voicing discontent against the government this time.

Adheeb

image012

image012

The current controversial tourism minister is by all accounts very much involved with the gangs in Male and he has made no effort to distance himself from them. It is also said that when he was made tourism minister his net worth was around minus 5000 dollars and in just 3 years he was able to present brand new car to first lady on her birthday. Former auditor general Niyaz was removed from his job for trying to probe allegation of corruption against Mr. Adheeb.

car donated by Adheeb to firstlady

car donated by Adheeb to firstlady

The courts:

Maldives maybe the only country where a sitting judge in court may have less qualification than the lawyers. It’s sad but true that some sitting judges in our judicial system have not even completed their primary education and preside over cases argued for and against by lawyers who are much learned them. Positions in courts were historically all favors by government to their loyal supporters and they basically just used technicalities in the new constitution to cement their questionably gotten positions. They have also made their positions permanent for life and wrote their own pay scale and benefits.  Against this backdrop its easy to see how any political position the government wants is easily implemented by the courts and this is exactly how the hastily conjured up sham trials of former president and defense minister were concluded.

The police

The opportunity to shine and rise to the occasion for police came when they mysteriously found an elaborate scheme collectively by all opposition politicians to murder president Yameen and tourism minister Adheeb. According to this theory, Villa group chairman (presidential contender) financed the scheme. Former defense minister Nazim wrote the sequence of events. He also kept a pistol with exactly 3 bullets (allegedly: 1 for president Yameen, 1 for Minister Adheeb, 1 for police commissioner). A trained soldier Mr. Nazim also kept an ied, the thumb drive with the murderous plans and the pistol and bullets under his pillow and he and his wife slept blissfully aware of the monstrous things under their pillow while they slept. AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THIS OF COURSE…

One maybe forgiven for believing that politics is for grown up people but when situations like these are actual news from Maldives, it’s hard to believe that sane people can go through this much longer. So in effect this mayday rally is warranted and for the right reasons.  The drama has to stop and sun has to shine. Maldives deserves better than this.