MATATO to set up Maldives first tourism data centre

Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) has announced plans to set up the first ever data centre for tourism in the Maldives.

Speaking at the Maldives Travel Awards Gala held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort on November 23, MATATO President Abdulla Ghiyas Riyaz said the data centre would be established next year. Talks are underway with global partners to facilitate the ambitious project, he added.

“Research and insights, this is an area that Maldives as [a] destination really needs,” Ghiyas said.

According to MATATO, the data centre will function via an online portal and various publications. Ways to locally collect primary data are already being set up, the non-profit said.

Maldives tourism ministry publishes monthly statistics on tourist arrivals, while the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) releases monthly data on tourism related taxes, including Goods and Services Tax (GST), Green Tax and land rent.

However, no central depository exists for tourism related data.

Data-driven destination promotion and marketing strategies have become important for the Maldives, as the country struggles to match demand with an increased bed capacity.

Over the past five 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 over the next two years.

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 450 guesthouses in operation today.

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 statistics, tourist arrivals to the Maldives over the year have crossed the one million mark.

Photo: MATATO President Abdulla Ghiyas Riyaz speaks at the Maldives Travel Awards Gala held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort on November 23. PHOTO/ IBRAHIM ASAD

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