TUI teams up with Alibaba to boost Chinese arrivals to Maldives resorts

World’s largest leisure, travel and tourism company TUI Group has announced a partnership with Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group to increase the number of Chinese travellers booking its resorts in Asian markets, especially the Maldives.

Friedrich Joussen, CEO of the German travel titan, told journalists at the ITB China Tourism Fair, which began Wednesday, that TUI would expand its business in China amid an increasing demand for high-end overseas travels among Chinese tourists.

Joussen stressed that majority of guests to its Robinson Club resort in the Maldives are from China, followed by Japan and South Korea. To tap the increasing demand of the Chinese outbound travel market, TUI will cooperate with Alibaba’s online travel platform Fliggy to attract more Chinese travellers to book holidays in the group’s new hotels in Asia, especially the Maldives, he said.

TUI runs the Robinson Club Maldives resort at Fanumadua island in the southern Maldives atoll of Gaafu Alif. Its second resort in the Maldives, the Robinson Club Noonu will open in November.

Located on the island of Orivaru in the northern Noonu atoll, the Robinson Club Noonu will consist of 60 water villas, 50 beach villas and 40 duplex villas. It will be one of the three ROBINSON FeelGood clubs, which is a place special for singles and couples looking for a perfect blend of relaxation and partying in a stylish ambiance with stunning landscapes.

China has maintained its position as the single biggest source market despite falling numbers over the past year. In 2016, the Maldives welcomed 324,326 visitors from China, which was a 9.8 percent drop compared to the previous year. China has continued its downward spiral this year as well with a 9.5 percent drop in Chinese arrivals in March.

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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