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Maldives posts 2.2 percent hike in tourist arrivals in August

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Maldives on Tuesday reported an increase of 2.2 percent in tourist arrivals in August.

Official figures for the month of August released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 123,992 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — a 2.2 percent increase over the 121,310 tourists in August 2017.

Europe, the largest regional source market, posted an overall growth of 10.6 percent over August 2017, as arrivals increased to 52,488 from 47,465.

The UK, which is the single biggest European source market, made a gain of eight percent, while several other major European markets such as Italy, France and Spain also posted gains of 21.4 percent, 0.7 percent and 33.3 percent respectively. However, arrivals from Germany declined by 7.7 percent — the second decline this year (down 23.3 percent in June) from the second largest European source market.

Russian travellers continued to show their appetite for the Maldives, as arrival numbers jumped 8.6 percent in August to reach 4,525 from 4,166 in August 2017. This strong performance last month translated into an impressive growth of 21.5 percent in arrivals from Russia in the past eight months of the year.

Arrivals from Asia, the second largest regional source market, decreased by 3.5 in August.

However, the double digit decline in the Chinese market for the past two years slowed down in August as arrivals decreased by only 0.8 percent to reach 33,472 from 33,743 in August 2017. This performance narrowed the decline in arrivals from the Maldives’ single biggest source market for the January-August period to 7.4 percent.

Almost all major contributors to Maldives tourism from South East Asia, which has been post strong gains over the past year, recorded declines in August, with arrivals from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines decreasing by 13.7 percent, 8.7 percent and 12 percent respectively. However, arrivals from Singapore, which had been posting weak performances for the past eights months of year, increased by 17.6 percent — the second consecutive month of positive growth.

South Asia, which has become one of the fastest growing source markets, also extended its decline for the second consecutive month after posting major gains for the past seven months of the year. The latest decline of 27.5 percent is due to negative growth in arrivals from almost all South Asian markets, including India (down 28.6 percent) and Sri Lanka (down 29 percent).

Along with the mixed performance in established markets, growth in relatively new markets such as the Americas also turned negative for the first time in several months.

Arrivals from the US decreased by 2.4 percent in August — the first decline since securing a place amongst the top 10 contributors to the Maldives tourism industry last year. However, the number of visitors from Australia and South Africa, which has been on the recovery, increased by 40.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Middle East, which has proven to be a volatile market, posted a decline of 1.7 percent in August after recording slight gains for the past two months, as arrivals from several major Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates posted negative growth of 4.7 percent, 20.7 percent and 23.6 percent, respectively. However, Saudi Arabia (up 6.6 percent) and Qatar (up 305.9 percent) were the only major contributors from Middle East that made gains in arrivals in August.

According to the August statistics, total arrivals for the past eight months of the year increased by 9.1 percent to reach 972,839 compared to the 892,025 in the same period of last year.

Maldives had early this month welcomed the one millionth visitor of 2018.

In addition to a new wave of recent political turmoil, the Maldives is currently experiencing the traditionally low season.

May to November is considered the low tourist season, as these months constitute rainy season in Maldives. Between May and November, the islands boast of wet weather, making it less ideal for tourists to travel and enjoy the tropical environment.

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 last year 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.

Photo: Palm Beach Island Maldives Resort & Spa

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience

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CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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