Maldives kicks off destination marketing for 2018 with FITUR in Spain

Maldives has been showcased at FITUR, the international tourism trade fair held in Madrid, Spain.

The Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) together with 38 representatives from 22 companies from the tourism industry of Maldives are representing the destination at the fair being held from Thursday to Sunday. The Maldives delegation is headed by Acting Managing Director of MMPRC Haris Mohamed.

During FITUR, the Maldives is showcasing the unique scenery of the destination in a 71 sqm area space at stand number 6F24.

According to MMPRC, this year’s stand has been enlarged due to the increasing number of industry partners participating at the fair. Twenty-two counters have been placed at the stand along with private meeting tables, which are being shared amongst the industry participants for meetings, it said.

Now in its 38th year, FITUR is one of the biggest global platforms for leading travel trade professionals for inbound and outbound markets. The first three days of the fair is solely for trade visitors and the last two days are for both trade visitors and public.

Although FITUR is mainly targeted for the Spanish market, the platform is expected to be a great opportunity for the Maldives to connect with tourism professionals from all over the world.

Arrivals to the Maldives from the Spanish market has grown to 9.2 percent by the end of November 2017 compared to the previous year. Spain has a 1.8 percent marketshare by the end of November 2017.

MMPRC has announced plans to participate in 17 international travel fairs in 2018, in a bid to ramp up tourism promotion.

The corporation took part in 12 fairs last year.

Meanwhile, MVR 50 million (USD 3.3 million) have been allocated from the 2018 state budget for tourism promotion.

The government has come under fire from private organisations representing industry stakeholders such as the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) over the lack of effort and budget to promote the Maldives as a destination.

These concerns come as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match an increased bed capacity.

Over the past five years, dozens of uninhabited islands have been leased to local and foreign resort developers. Several international brands have entered into the market, increasing the number of resorts to 120. That number is set to increase as the government has announced the opening of some 20 new resorts over the next two years.

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.

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