Maldives tourism officials have issued a warning to holidaymakers following a series of drownings across the island chain.
Five tourists have died in separate incidents so far in January, including a couple on their honeymoon.
Police have appealed for tourists to take extra precautions when swimming, snorkelling or while doing watersports, according to local media.
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Tourist resorts, which are scattered across many of the 26 atolls of the Maldives, have been urged to keep a closer eye on their guests.
The currents are stronger during the north-eastern monsoon, said local police.
The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) says that while the Maldives are generally trouble-free, one of the most common problems for British tourists to be caught up with is swimming and diving related accidents.
Its advice states: “The sea around the Maldives can have strong tidal currents and a number of foreign nationals drown every year. You should always take local advice before entering the sea.”
Earlier this month the tourism minister for the Maldives, Ali Waheed, announced a full review of the country’s resorts and guesthouses. “We have decided to inspect all tourist facilities in the Maldives within the next six to eight months.
“Regular monitoring must be done to ensure that regulations are followed,” he said.
Waheed added that there were discussions to designate safe swimming areas in the islands, according to the Maldives Independent.
The drownings follow a devastating fire that ripped through one of the island chain’s top resorts earlier this month. The fire, at luxury resort Gili Lankanfushi, destroyed seven overwater villas and one restaurant. Nobody was hurt.
More than 1.4 million tourists visited the Maldives in 2018, a 12.4 per cent uptick from the previous year, according to official records. Tourists from China and Europe make up the biggest inbound market for the country. Many come for the fine diving and snorkelling on offer.
The Independent has asked Maldives Tourism for comment.