Published on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Maldives spas remain open

Resorts in the Maldives are fighting an order by the government to close their spas, claiming such a move threatens the island's £1bn a year tourism industry.

The president of the Indian Ocean islands announced over the weekend that all spas must be shut down following claims by Islamist opposition parties that massage parlours are a front for prostitution (see earlier story).

However, the country's tourism association is taking the government to court to try to overturn the ban. In the meantime, it has applied for a temporary injunction to allow spas to continue to operate and hotel resort have reassured customers that their spas will remain open.

Many of the Maldives spa resorts are owned by members of opposition parties, who claim the government's decision to close them down is a deliberate attempt to damage their business.

They say they had called only for a ban on the island's liquor and massage clinics, not resort spas.

By Linsey McNeill

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