Maldives' ban on 'prostitution hub' spas sends shockwaves in tourism industry

The Maldives' Government order to ban all spas and health centres in resorts has evoked concerns in the country's tourism industry, which is a major foreign exchange earner.

The Maldives Tourism ministry instructed all resort hotels across the country to shut down spas and health centres offering beauty treatments and massages with immediate effect.

Bu the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry said the ban would be detrimental to the economy, and appealed to resolve the issue, the BBC reports.

The ban comes after an opposition Islamist party Adhaalath staged a protest against spas alleging that they were prostitution hubs. Industry sources, however, said the government might eventually revoke the decision.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed had earlier called for a "tolerant" form of Islam in the country amid growing influence of hardline Islamic parties. The Maldives is a popular destination for wealthy honeymooners, where luxury rooms can cost up to 12,000 dollars a day.

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