Saudia increases flights to Maldives with new Jeddah-Male route
Saudia has increased flights to Maldives, giving a boost to tourist arrivals to the Indian Ocean island nation from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier started operations to the Maldives in March 2016 with twice a week service on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport to the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport. The sector is served by an A330 aircraft configured with 26 business class seats and 252 economy seats.
Saudia said additional two flights were added on April 9 to expand its operations to the Maldives. The new flights fly from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport to Velana International Airport on every Wednesday and Saturday, while flights serving the old Riyadh-Male route operate on Thursdays and Sundays.
Middle East is one of the major emerging source markets for the Maldives tourism industry. Official figures show that 51,330 tourists –42.7 percent of which were Saudis — visited the Maldives from Middle Eastern countries last year, a 22.3 percent increase over the 41,976 the year before.
That growth is set to continue this year as well, as Middle Eastern travellers that chose to travel to the Maldives for their holidays increased by 3.9 percent in the first two months of the year.
Maldives has ramped up tourism promotion in Middle East with a major focus on Saudi Arabia. Stakeholders of the tourism industry, including government and non-governmental organisations, have held an exclusive event in Saudi Arabia and in the Riyadh Travel Fair, the largest exhibition of travel and tourism products in Saudi Arabia, this month.