MATATO explores new marketing opportunities in India

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) on Saturday met with India’s top diplomat in Maldives in a bid to step up promotion of the country’s tourism industry in its closest neighbour.

President Abdulla Ghiyas Riyaz, Secretary General Ibrahim Munaz and Deputy Secretary General Asra Naseem represented MATATO at the meeting held at the Indian embassy in capital Male.

According to MATATO, discussions at the meeting with ambassador Akhilesh Mishra were focused on marketing opportunities in the Indian tourism market. The ambassador acknowledged MATATO’s work in promoting the Maldives in India, especially its participation in three high profile travel trade shows in India.

MATATO along with resort operators and travel agents took part in Bharat International Tourism Bazaar (BITB) New Delhi in October and South Asia Travel and Trade Exhibition (SATTE) New Delhi in February. The organisation is set to participate in India International Travel Mart (IITM) Bangalore Edition, which is scheduled for July 21- 23.

MATATO noted that more promotional activities were planned for the Indian market, including road shows in four cities across India. However, no details were given.

India has become a major emerging source market for the Maldives tourism industry.

Official figures show that 66,955 tourists arrived in Maldives from its closest neighbour last year, a 27.9 percent increase from the 52,368 Indian travellers that chose the Maldives in 2015.

That growth is expected to continue this year as well, as the number of Indian tourists that visited the Maldives recorded a 21.1 percent increase in the first three months to reach 17,156 compared to 14,171 in the same period last year.

Maldives has also become a sought after destination by Bollywood stars.

Famous Bollywood stars who have visited the Maldives include Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Alia Bhatt and Priyanka Chopra. Bollywood couples such as Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor have also spent their vacation in the Maldives, while Bollywood couple Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora Khan has declared the Maldives as their favourite holiday destination.

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