Maldives 2017 tourism receipts cross $2 billion
Maldives recorded over USD 2.07 billion in tourism receipts over the year, posting an increase of 2.8 percent, the country’s tax authority has announced.
Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) calculated the tourism receipts based on Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collected from the tourism industry over the past nine months of the year.
According to the authority, over USD 222 million were collected as GST from the tourism industry, amounting to over USD 2.07 billion in tourism receipts. This is an increase of 2.8 percent over the USD 2.01 billion collected in tourism receipts during the same period of last year, it said.
Government has set an ambitious target of increasing tourism receipts to USD 3 billion by the end of the year.
Other taxes collected from the tourism industry have also contributed significantly large amounts to state revenue.
Revenue from the recently introduced Green Tax, which is collected from all tourist properties, are also on the rise. MVR 570 million (USD 37 million) was received as Green Tax from January to October, which is an increase compared to the MVR 519 million (USD 33.7 million) collected in the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals to the Maldives over the year have crossed the one million mark, as the beach holiday destination posted a major increase in arrival numbers last month.
After years of double-digit growth in tourism, the Maldives has over the recent years observed a slowdown in growth. The government has set an ambitious target of attracting 1.5 million tourists by the end of this year, but the country has been struggling to create demand amidst a significant increase in bed capacity.
Along with the new resort openings come the challenge of increasing demand from budget travellers who choose guesthouses over luxury resorts that the Maldives is known for. The guesthouse sector has rapidly expanded with over 450 guesthouses in operation today.
The government has recently announced new steps to maintain a structured growth in tourism, including a slowdown in leasing islands for resort development and increased marketing efforts in key markets such as China and the Middle East in order to reach an ambitious target of a record 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year.
The latest arrival figures are also a welcome sign for the Maldives tourism industry, which is the main economic activity in the island nation, as the nation prepares for the peak tourist season.