luxury maldives resort set to close their health spas
Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Islamists say they're 'offensive'

Luxury Maldives resort set to close their health spas

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Massage sessions like this at The Huvafen Fushi Spa in the Maldives were deemed offensive
London - Arabstoday

Massage sessions like this at The Huvafen Fushi Spa in the Maldives were deemed offensive Thousands of honeymoons will never be the same again after Islamists put pressure on the Maldives government to close them down. The islands are a paradise holiday destination renowned for its pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters and high-end luxury.
Honeymooners and celebrities from around the world flock there, often paying up to $1,000 a night at hideaway resorts.
But now officials in the Maldives have ruled the Indian Ocean archipelago\'s luxury spas, health centres and massage parlours must close.
The government has relented after sustained pressure from radical Islamist opposition parties claiming they were offensive.
It has led to fear the £1billion tourism sector in the Maldives will suffer.
The country\'s president issued the decree on Saturday, saying the idea came from opposition parties angry at widespread sales of pork and alcohol.
Importation of alcohol is already severely prohibited in the Maldives and Islamists are now calling for a complete ban.
The Maldives is a mainly Sunni Muslim nation of more than 1,200 atolls housing a population of 400,000.
\'The government has decided to close massage parlors and spas in the Maldives, following an opposition-led religious protest last week calling for their closure,\' President Mohamed Nasheed\'s office said in a statement.
\'Ironically, the same opposition leaders who railed against spas and the selling of alcohol and pork to tourists are some of the country\'s biggest resort owners.\'
However, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom\'s opposition coalition Progressive Party of Maldives said the government move was aimed at leisure business owned by some opposition members.
\'We never asked for the ban,\' PPM spokesman Ahamed Mahloof said. \'We wanted the liquor and massage clinics banned in inhabited islands to prevent prostitution and spread of drugs and alcohol to locals.
\'Nasheed is misusing the demands to take revenge by imposing the ban on resorts owned by the opposition members.\'
The Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huras in the Maldives charges $600 for a two-and-a-half hour spa treatment, according to the resort\'s website.
Other resorts also charge similar amounts. The country\'s tourism minister said the move has already prompted calls from resorts affected.
\'Several have raised concerns over our decision. We are considering allowing resorts to operate spas. They are also aware of the reasons that led us to take the decision,\' Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa said.
 

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