Bollywood Icons Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar Tweet Rally Cry for Domestic Tourism Amid Lakshadweep-Maldives Dispute on X

In a bid to promote domestic tourism and respond to recent controversies surrounding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lakshadweep, Bollywood celebrities are urging people to explore the pristine islands of India. The row emerged after Maldives Minister Abdulla Mahzoom Majid claimed that India was diverting attention from the Maldives by promoting Lakshadweep as an alternative tourist destination.

Prime Minister Modi's recent visit to Lakshadweep garnered attention as he shared his exhilarating experience snorkeling in the Arabian Sea islands. However, the controversy ignited when Minister Majid suggested that India was attempting to compete with the Maldives in beach tourism, posing a significant challenge. The remarks led to a social media uproar, with many Indians expressing their discontent by canceling their planned trips to the Maldives, and the hashtag #BoycottMaldives trending on Twitter.

Amid this controversy, several Bollywood stalwarts, including Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, and John Abraham, have taken to social media to advocate for exploring Indian islands such as Lakshadweep and Sindhudurg. Through their tweets, they collectively rally support for domestic tourism, emphasizing the need to appreciate the beauty of their own country.

Responding to Minister Majid's comments, Akshay Kumar expressed his surprise and disappointment at the hateful and racist remarks coming from prominent figures in the Maldives. He highlighted India's role as a major source of tourists for the Maldives and called for supporting domestic tourism. "Let us decide to #ExploreIndianIslands and support our own tourism," Kumar urged.

John Abraham endorsed Lakshadweep as a must-visit destination, echoing the sentiment shared by his Bollywood counterparts. "Lakshadweep is the place to go," he wrote on social media.

Salman Khan, known for his charismatic presence both on and off-screen, commended Prime Minister Modi for enjoying the beautiful and clean beaches of Lakshadweep. Khan emphasized the pride in having such picturesque locations in India, stating, "It is so cool to see our Hon PM Narendrabhai Modi at the beautiful clean n stunning beaches of Lakshadweep, and the best part is that yeh hamare India mein hain."

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also joined the chorus, reminiscing about his time in Sindhudurg. He highlighted India's diverse coastlines and pristine islands, urging people to explore the vast potential the country holds for creating memorable experiences. "With our 'Atithi Devo Bhava' philosophy, we have so much to explore, so many memories waiting to be created," Tendulkar shared.

The timing of this controversy adds to the strained ties between India and the Maldives, which have been ongoing since President Mohamed Muizzu assumed power in November 2023. Despite the geopolitical tensions, Prime Minister Modi, on January 3, inaugurated and laid the foundation for various projects worth Rs 1,150 crore in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

As Bollywood celebrities continue to champion the cause of domestic tourism, their influence could significantly impact the choices of travelers, redirecting their attention towards the untapped beauty of Indian islands and fostering a sense of pride in exploring the diverse landscapes within the country.