Indians confuse Mauritius with Maldives, give rise to comedy of errors


“Not interested if you disrespect us and our PM,” commented an enraged Indian on X.

The comment followed another, which said, “We now found a better option in our country itself, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep”.

Next, a “Boycott the Maldives” comment followed the two comments from another X handle, on the same post which promoted “exciting adventures and experiences” in “a tropical tourist destination”.

This is a comedy of errors. The angry comments were on a post that was promoting Mauritius, and not the Maldives.

The post to which Indians were reacting in anger was from the handle of ‘Mauritius Tourism (India)’. The post read, “Mauritius welcomes Indians to explore, discover, and Feel Our Island Energy in 2024! Tons of exciting adventures and experiences await you. Plan your holiday today!”

In their fit of rage, Indians confused Mauritius — a country that has very close and friendly ties with India — with the Maldives, which was recently in the news for its current government’s anti-India stand.

Comment and clarification.

It resulted in a hilarious exchange as representatives of Mauritius Tourism tried their level best to explain how Mauritius was different from the Maldives.

The reactions to the Mauritius tweet on X went on as “BoycottMaldives” trended on social media platforms. The trend started in early January.

The confusion.

THE INDIA-MALDIVES STAND-OFF

‘BoycottMaldives’ was a result of a battle that started in cyberspace and became a diplomatic stand-off between India and the Maldives.

It all started with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing photos from his visit to Lakshadweep on January 4 (Thursday).

PM Modi shared photos of him snorkelling and enjoying the “moments of pure bliss” on one of Lakshadweep’s pristine beaches.

Many on social media hinted that PM Modi’s promoting Lakshadweep might be somehow linked to the reports of the Maldivian government’s cosying up to China. The present government of Mohamed Muizzu came to power in September 2023 on an “India-out” campaign.

China-leaning Mohamed Muizzu defeated Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was pro-India.

Following PM Modi’s promotion of Lakshadweep, a few Maldivian lawmakers, including a minister of the Mohamed Muizzu government, were seen making derogatory rants against PM Modi, India and the Indians.

Maldives Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Mariyam Shiuna, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “clown” and “puppet of Israel” on X.

Maldivian MP Zahid Rameez said there was a “permanent smell in the [hotel] rooms [in India]”.Indians took affront to the abuses hurled at the country and its Prime Minister. Indians are the top tourist source for the Maldives.

‘NOT MALDIVES, THIS IS MAURITIUS’

However, in their anger at the Maldives, some Indians mistakenly directed their anger at Mauritius too.

Before more people could join in with comments like, “Not interested if you disrespect us and our PM” and “Boycott Mauritius”, a timely comment came in to put a mic-dropping end to the discussion.

“Hi, this is Mauritius, not Maldives. Both are different islands,” wrote the ‘Mauritius Tourism (India)’.

“This is Mauritius.”

Turns out, the ones who commented on the post took Mauritius for the Maldives.

The original post was from January 11 and was promoted subsequently. The angry reactions to the post continued till January 28. The post is still seeing activity.

‘Mauritius Tourism (India)’ is run by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA). It is a Mauritian statutory body for the promotion of Mauritius overseas, as a tourist destination, according to their official website, and the Authority’s handle was doing just that, the promotion of Mauritius.

Requests to the Mauritian government for comments on the social media confusion and steps taken to address the same in the future were awaited till the time of publishing the report.

The post on X tried to promote Mauritius as an alternative tropical tourist destination in the Indian Ocean, while Indians were looking away from the Maldives as their preferred travel destination.

The MTPA is also using Indian arts and entertainment to promote its tourism to Indians. (Image: MTPA)

MAURITIUS IS TRYING TO WOO INDIAN TOURISTS

Rightly so, comparing the number of Indians arriving at the shores of the Maldives and Mauritius paints a clearer picture, where the number of Indians choosing Mauritius as their preferred destination outnumbers that of the Maldives. The Mauritian Tourism Promotion Authority looked to cash in on the outrage the Maldives faced and what better opportunity?

While the number of Indians going to Mauritius has not crossed the one-lakh threshold, with its peak in 2017, when 86.29 Indians went there, the number of Indians who went to the Maldives has been over 2.9 lakh in 2021. Over two lakh tourists from India went to the Maldives in 2023 for their holidays.

Mauritius has “turquoise lagoons, pristine beaches and biodiversity-rich rainforests” to offer, which are ideal for “honeymoons and family vacations”, says Mauritius Tourism.

Mauritius and India also share a profound connection dating back to the 19th-century British colonial period, resulting in a large Indian-origin population on the islands. This is why Mauritius is also called Mini India, added the Mauritius Tourism website.

Hence, Mauritius, importing 15-20% of its imports from India, is now looking to woo and welcome more and more tourists from India.

Other than attracting Indians, it might have to clear some confusion for now — that it is Mauritius and not Maldives.

Published By:

Sushim Mukul

Published On:

Feb 21, 2024



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