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Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo begins Maldives service

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Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo has launched flight operations to the Maldives, directly connecting Indian cities of Kochi, Bangalore and Mumbai to Male.

The inaugural flight from Kochi landed at the Maldives main Velana International Airport Thursday morning. The 50 passengers travelling on the 130-seater Airbus A320 jet were welcomed by officials from the airport operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) and the Indian ambassador in Maldives Akilesh Mishra.

As part of IndiGo’s international expansion, Male becomes the 13th destination on its network. The airline will operate daily non-stop flights between Male-Kochi, as well as five weekly service from Mumbai and twice weekly from Bangalore.

“Both Male and Phuket are key markets for us and we see great potential in the growth of tourism from India,” William Boulter, the Chief Commercial Officer at IndiGo, was quoted in a previous statement, as saying.

“IndiGo will continue to expand its network to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers wherever they demand it. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice to our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on-time, courteous and hassle-free service, and an affordable flying experience always.”

IndiGo follows GoAir, which began its flight operations to the Maldives last month.

GoAir commenced its operations to the Maldives with three non-stop flight services per week between Mumbai – Male – Mumbai and two direct flight services per week between Delhi – Male – Delhi, at starting all-inclusive fares of USD 230 and USD 260, respectively.

Flagship carriers of the Maldives and India currently operate scheduled flights to and from major cities, including Bangalore, Trivandrum and Chennai. Low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet also operates daily direct connections between Kochi and Male as well as Trivandrum and Male.

Introduction of flight operations by another Indian low-cost airline — and to and from three of the major business and tourism hubs in India — is expected to help both the countries, and further boost tourist arrivals to the Maldives from India, which has become a major emerging source market for the Maldives’ tourism industry.

Official figures show that 83,019 tourists arrived in Maldives from its closest neighbour last year, a 24 percent increase from the 66,955 Indian travellers that chose the Maldives in 2017.

That growth is expected to continue this year as well, as the number of Indian tourists that visited the Maldives recorded a 4.4 percent increase in the January-August period of this year to reach 51,075 compared to 48,939 in the same period last year.

Maldives has also become a sought after destination by Bollywood stars.

Famous Bollywood stars who have vacationed in the Maldives include Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor KhanAlia BhattPriyanka ChopraParineeti Chopra, the Bachchan familyNeha Dhupia and Angad Bedi, and Sonakshi Sinha.

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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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