Shares of Easy Trip Planners, the operator of online travel portal EaseMyTrip, surged 17% to ₹51.81 apiece on the BSE today amid India-Maldives row.

This comes after the travel aggregator halted all flight reservations to the Maldives following the comments made by three Maldivian ministers, who have since been suspended, criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lakshadweep.

Tour operators of the Maldives have urged EaseMyTrip to resume flight reservations to the island nation. The Maldives Association of Tour and Travel Operators (MATATO) told the company to disregard the "regrettable" comments, saying they "did not reflect sentiments of Maldivians in general".

The Maldives is currently grappling with a wave of criticism following the issuance of offensive remarks against PM Modi by three Maldivian cabinet ministers. Consequently, numerous Indian tourists have opted to cancel their plans to visit this international getaway.

According to the Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives, Indians accounted for the highest share of arrivals to the island nation last year. Visitors to the Maldives from India totalled 209,198, securing the top position. Subsequently, Russia claimed the second position with 209,146 arrivals, while China secured the third spot with a count of 187,118 arrivals.

On Wednesday, EaseMyTrip announced the launch of its new subsidiary in a filing exchange. “EaseMyTrip.com has launched its new subsidiary, EaseMyTrip Insurance Broker Private Limited,” the company says in a release. The company says it is to broaden its range of services and penetrate the insurance market through the development of a tailored product designed to address customer requirements.

“The new venture is expected to solidify EaseMyTrip's position in the industry and cater to an INR 7.9 trillion market with EaseMyTrip’s own 20 Million userbase,” it adds.

Nishant Pitti, CEO and cofounder, EaseMyTrip, states, "We are elated to announce the launch of EaseMyTrip Insurance Broker Private Limited. This new subsidiary is a major step forward for us as we diversify our services and enter the insurance market. We aim to offer a complete travel ecosystem for our customers and this new addition is a progressive step towards the same.”

Meanwhile, MakeMyTrip, another online travel platform, began its "Beaches of India" campaign in response to a 3,400% surge in searches for Lakshadweep islands on its platform. The heightened interest in the island destination followed PM Modi's visit to the Union Territory on January 2 and 3.

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