Maldives launches marketing initiative with Singapore Airlines to attract Korean tourists

Maldives has launched a marketing initiative in partnership with Singapore Airlines to attract Korean tourists to the country.

In a statement, state tourism promotion company Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) said Korean travellers booking tickets to the Maldives through Singapore Airlines website will get several benefits from participating resorts, including complimentary room upgrades, spa treatments and dinner.

The resorts participating in the marketing initiative are:

  • Amaya Kuda Rah
  • Angsana Ihuru
  • Angsana Velavaru
  • Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
  • Furaveri Island Resort and Spa
  • Gili Lankanfushi
  • Kandima Maldives
  • Mirihi Island Resort
  • Olhuveli Beach and Spa Maldives
  • Sun Aqua Vilu Reef
  • Paradise Island Resort
  • Sun Island Resort
  • Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa

Singapore Airlines operates a direct, twice-a-day service to the Maldives.

Korea’s flagship carrier Korean Air also operates a three-day-a-week service on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport to the Maldives main Velana International Airport via Colombo.

Despite falling numbers, South Korea still remains one of the top 10 source markets to the Maldives. Last year, 29,580 Korean tourists visited the Maldives, which was a 10.4 percent drop from the previous year.

However, arrivals from Korea have picked up this year, with 12,720 tourists visiting the Maldives by May –an 18.4 percent increase compared to the same period of last year.

After years of double-digit growth in tourism, the Maldives has over the recent years observed a slowdown in growth despite recent gains. Tourist arrivals have crossed the one million milestone and is on course to reach 1.5 million by the end of this year, but the country has been struggling to create demand amidst a significant increase in bed capacity.

Over the past three 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 by the end of this year.

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 300 guesthouses in operation today.

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.

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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