Maldives tops new Destination Satisfaction Index as holidaymakers vouch for safety, quality

Maldives has hit the top spot globally in a new Destination Satisfaction Index (DSI).

In the index developed by Norstat and dp2research for the period from May to August, the Maldives received a score of 8.8, beating destinations around the world in several of the 20 factors used to generate a detailed assessment of a given travel destination.

No other destination worldwide was able to match the Maldives’ safety score of 9.4.

“It is striking that holidaymakers perceive significantly higher levels of safety in remote destinations, islands and other resorts with a media image publicising their rigid security policy than they do in other, equally popular destinations,” Dennis Pyka, CEO of dp2research, was quoted as saying.

The Maldives also came top globally in the important area of accommodation (9.4), beating Abu Dhabi (9.2) and the Bahamas (9.0).

The holiday period from May to August is primarily focused on beach holidays. The Maldives led the world in beach satisfaction too, scoring 9.5.

In addition to comprehensive polling on holiday satisfaction, the index also captures holidaymakers’ intent to return and their rate of recommendation to another party. The Maldives has a winning reputation in this factor as well, landing the worldwide top spot with a score of 77 out of 100.

The findings come as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match an increased 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.

According to the latest figures, total arrivals for the first seven months of the year increased by 5.5 percent to reach 770,715 compared to the 730,353 in the same period of last year.

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