With double-digit growth, US becomes ninth biggest source market for Maldives tourism

United States has made it to the list of the top 10 source markets for the Maldives tourism industry, as arrivals from the country continue to observe double-digit growth.

Figures released by the Maldives tourism ministry show that relatively new markets such as the Americas have recorded significant growth in arrivals over the past two years, with the US at the leading spot. Last year alone, 32,589 tourists from the US visited the Maldives — an 11.2 percent increase over the 29,308 in the previous year.

Growth in the US market has gained steam this year, as 18,267 Americans visited the Maldives during the first six months of the year. It was a 19.4 percent increase over the 15,295 Americans that spent their holidays in the Maldives during the same period of last year.

This significant growth in arrivals from the US has put the country amongst the top 10 source markets, along with China, Germany, UK, Italy, India, Russia, France, Japan, and Switzerland. The US currently holds the ninth biggest market share in Maldives tourism, between the traditionally strong market of Japan and Switzerland.

The US market, however, continues to face several challenges, especially due to the long distance and the lack of air connectivity. With no direct flights between the US and Maldives, travellers now have to opt for transit flights with long layovers in London, Dubai and Doha.

After years of double-digit growth in tourism, the Maldives has over the recent years observed a slowdown in growth, mainly due to a slump in arrivals from China. However, the decline in the Chinese market has been largely offset by a strong recovery in the traditional European market, contributing to promising gains in overall tourist arrivals.

Despite tourist arrivals crossing the one million milestone and on course to reach 1.5 million by the end of this year, the Maldives has struggled to create demand amidst a significant increase in bed capacity.

However, the latest figures and the emergence of new markets are welcome signs for the Maldives tourism industry, which is the main economic activity in the island nation.

Photo: Kurumba Maldives

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