Sri Lankan minister apologises for Maldives criticism at ITB Berlin

Sri Lanka’s tourism minister Harin Fernando has issued an apology for his comments on the Maldives made during a press briefing at ITB Berlin last week.

Speaking at the tradeshow, Fernando said Sri Lanka had much more to offer tourists than the Maldives.

Fernando’s opinion on the Maldives draws criticism (Source: Sri Lanka High Commission,London-UK)

“Maldives just has the beach – I’m not criticising – but you stay there for five days, you get fed up of it. That’s it. You’re just (on) an island, you are caught up in one place,” he said.

Following severe criticism of his opinion, Fernando tweeted: “My statement made in Berlin regarding the beautiful Maldive islands has been taken out of context and been misrepresented on social media. I wish to clarify that we work together with our neighbour on tourism and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Various Maldivian officers have responded to Fernando’s comments.

Maldives tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom, in a tweet, said the Maldives has been declared the world’s leading destination for the past four years including 2022. “Thanks to developers and service providers for making the Maldives simply the best and addictive,” he said.

Maldives parliamentarian Mohamed Shifau invited the Sri Lankan minister to visit his country and experience world-class hospitality.

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