Maldives seeks joint tourism promotion with international airlines

Maldivian officials have held extensive discussions with international airlines to jointly promote the Maldives’ tourism industry abroad.

The discussions were held at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, which concluded Thursday. State tourism promotion company Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC) Acting Managing Director Haris Mohamed led the Maldives delegation in the discussions with airlines including Emirates, FlyDubai, Alitalia and Turkish Airlines.

Emirates currently operates three daily flights to the Maldives, while FlyDubai and Turkish Airlines fly five times a week to the Indian Ocean island nation. Alitalia is set to begin three times a week service to the Maldives in October.

In addition to the discussions with airlines, Maldives was represented at ATM by officials of MMPRC along with more than 125 representatives from 57 companies involved in the tourism industry. Some of the exhibitors included premier hotel and resort operators such as AAA Hotels and Resorts, Kandima Maldives, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Hulhule Island Hotel, Villa Hotels, Maalifushi by COMO, Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives, Amilla Fushi, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Bandos Maldives, Anantara Maldives Resorts and Naladhu Maldives, Kanuhura Maldives, Furaveri Island Resort, Adaaran resorts, Crown and Champa Resorts, Coco Bodu Hithi, JA Manafaru, Cheval Blanc Randheli, Summer Island Maldives, Ayada Maldives and Sun Siyam Resorts. Travel agents and tour operators that represented the Maldives were Crown Tours, Pearl Travel Service, Lets Go Maldives, Inner Maldives Holidays, Moodhu Holidays, Travel Connection Maldives and Capital Travel & Tours.

Maldives was showcased at a 200-square metre stand with a new design concept that showed the natural beauty of the destination through colourful images. During the four-day exhibition, special activities were carried out at the stand to attract more visitors, including social media campaigns to increase the online presence of the Maldives’ tourism industry. Visitors also had the opportunity to take pictures at the stand and upload them to social media with the hashtags, #visitmaldives #ATMDubai to win instant gifts.

Founded in 1994, ATM is now recognised as the largest travel trade show in Middle East, showcasing over 2,800 products and destinations from around the world to over 26,000 buyers and visitors every year. Apart from usual business meetings, this year’s fair will see special events, including speed networking sessions for industry stakeholders and travel media.

Middle East is one of the major emerging source markets for the Maldives tourism industry. Official figures show that 51,330 tourists 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.

Middle East is also the hub from which major airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Fly Dubai have scheduled direct flights to the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport. Recent addition to flights from the Middle East is Saudi Arabia’s flagship carrier Saudi Airlines.

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