Maldives remains top destination for 15th year, Kuoni says

Maldives remains Kuoni’s biggest selling destination for a staggering 15th consecutive year, the world-leading tour operator has announced.

In its Travel Trends Report 2018, Kuoni said the Indian Ocean archipelago is showing no signs of slowing down.

“… the number of arrivals from the UK showed an 18.7 per cent year-on-year increase in November 2017, boosted perhaps by the country’s expansion of hotels with at least 27 resorts having opened in the Maldives since 2013. Beyond the honeymoon market, the Maldives has broadened its appeal for families, solo and millennial travellers,” the report read.

“A further 23 resorts are scheduled to open in 2018 and 2019, so it’s reputation as an innovative and style-setting destination continues.”

The Maldives also defended its position as the top honeymoon destination for Kuoni, while the destination was placed third in the list of the Top Wedding Destinations for 2018. The island nation also came at the top in the list of the Top Family Destinations for 2018.

Meanwhile, Kuramathi Maldives was named the top long-haul family hotel for 2018.

The Kuoni Worldwide Trends Report 2018 looks at not only where people are going around the world to relax or explore, but also into how people are being inspired to book their dream escapes. The report was created by experts who dug deep into data, reviewed booking patterns and consulted with more than 300 Personal Travel Experts.

The year 2017 was a prosperous one for the Maldives tourism sector, as evidenced by the impressive growth in tourist arrivals, which soared to its highest in four years, and the growth in tourism receipts.

However, after years of double-digit growth in tourism, the Maldives has over the recent years observed a slowdown in growth. The government has set an ambitious target of attracting 1.5 million tourists 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 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 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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