Maldives expands market reach as tourism recovery continues

The Maldives is looking to promote travel for people with disabilities and other niche travel segments as they continue to rebuild tourism.

Speaking at a press conference this week, which coincided with the UNWTO Global Summit on Community Based Tourism and the Golden Jubilee of Tourism in the Maldives, Tourism Minister Abdullah Mawsum said: “We are expanding our markets and not relying only on our traditional sources. “.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Naushad Mohamed said that the Maldives will facilitate travel for people with disabilities, as well as facilitate business events, sports and cultural tourism.

As a result of the pandemic, the destination has lost its main source market, China. China accounted for 16.7% of arrivals in the Maldives in 2019, or 284,029 travelers, but only 971 visited between January and March 2022.

Since opening to international travelers in July 2020, the Maldives has become one of the most successful travel destinations today. The average length of visitor stay in the Maldives has risen from 7.5 nights before the start of the Covid pandemic to 8.5 nights.

Despite the invasion of Ukraine, Russian travelers have been actively visiting the Maldives, recording 52,235 arrivals in January-March 2022 compared to 26,284 during the same period in 2019.

Toyib Mohamed, Managing Director/CEO of the Maldives State-owned Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, also shared that the UK and Italy are performing well with 50,584 and 52,848 travelers respectively in January-March 2022. During the same period in 2019, the two markets registered 36,116 and 30,036 visitors, respectively.

“We are doing well compared to other (destinations),” Abdullah said, adding that the government is targeting between 1.4 million and 1.6 million arrivals this year, up from 2019’s record 1.48 million arrivals.

To achieve this goal, the Maldives will increase the number of business travel, facilitate travel for people with disabilities, as well as promote business events, sports tourism, cultural tourism, said Deputy Minister of Tourism Naushad Mohamed.

According to Ahmed Nazir, general secretary of the Maldives Tourism Industry Association, resorts across the destination are working to accommodate corporate groups of 30 or more.

“Despite the fact that the Maldives is perceived as a place for holidays, there is a market for business travel and participation in events,” he said.

The recovery of tourism in the Maldives is supported by a steady stream of new products. Some 23 resorts are in various stages of development and will soon join the newly opened facilities.

Velana International Airport opened a new VIP/CIP facility earlier this year as part of an $800 million facility expansion program that will add a new runway, passenger terminal, seaplane terminal, 45 million liter fuel depot and cargo complex. the project will be completed at the end of this year.

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