Andrew Earle said he recently had to warn a couple who inquired about booking a trip to the Maldives. The luxury holiday destination has strict rules around same-sex relationships
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A travel agent has issued a warning to gay couples as some popular holiday destinations have strict rules and do not accept same-sex relationships.
Andrew Earle said he recently had to warn a couple who inquired about booking a trip to the Maldives.
The luxury holiday destination has strict rules around same-sex relationships, and although there are some gay-friendly resorts, not all places are safe.
The Maldives is under Sharia Law and public displays of affection between same-sex couples in the resort can lead to eight years imprisonment and 100 lashes.
The travel agent said it is a “difficult conversation” to have, but travel agents have to ask about the nature of customer’s relationships when booking holidays to certain destinations, Hull Live reports.
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Andrew said that as more people get back to travel now that coronavirus restrictions are being eased, many couples are not aware that their displays of affection while on holiday could potentially land them in prison.
He said many people book their holidays online where “questions are not asked”, and they could be turned away at the check-in on arrival.
A growing number of countries are legalising same-sex marriage and relationships, but in many places homosexuality is still illegal.
Popular holiday destinations where homosexuality is outlawed include the Maldives, Barbados, Jamaica, Morocco and Tunisia.
In some countries including Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and in the northern states in Nigeria, the death penalty is the legally prescribed punishment for same-sex sexual acts.
Andrew said: “We were recently challenged with finding a gay couple a holiday and they wanted the Maldives, not realising that same sex relationships are banned and they would have to conceal the nature of their relationship.
“We are seeing people wanting to book long haul after not holidaying for two years, and this is something that people need to be aware of. It doesn’t mean same-sex couples cannot go to these countries, but they need to be mindful of local rules and customs, or there could be an issue.”
He added: “Plenty of people travel without an issue, but public displays of affection such as kissing and hand-holding could potentially lead to an arrest and an awful lot of people are completely unaware.”
The agent, who is the owner of travel firm Andrew Earle’s Holidays, said that when people book online, if they do not research the local customs properly, they can find themselves in difficult situations.