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International Maldives Travel Market 2019 launched

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International Maldives Travel Market (IMTM) 2019 has been launched.

As a B2B travel and trade fair, IMTM brings together leading tour operators, travel agencies, destination management companies and other businesses related to the tourism industry from different parts of the world to explore opportunities and liaise with a major representation of the Maldives tourism industry, including resorts, hotels, guesthouse, liveaboards, local travel agents and tour operators.

IMTM 2019 was officially launched Wednesday evening by the Deputy Minister of Tourism Dr Naushad Mohamed at a ceremony held at Maagiri Hotel in capital Male. The ceremony was attended by government officials, heads of corporations, industry representatives, partners of IMTM and media partners.

The second edition of IMTM is planned to be held from June 22-23, 2019 at Farukolhufushi, Hulhumale, Phase 2. The event aims to host 50 hosted buyers (an increase of 56 per cent) and representative of 25 countries (an increase of 32 per cent), whilst achieving a trade visitor participation target of 300 representatives (an increase of 100 per cent) compared to 2018.

“Unlike the traditional fairs, IMTM used a different approach where international buyers were stationed in meetings booths. The local participants visited them as trade visitors which made it possible for IMTM to make it cost effective for the local trade visitors. Meetings were prescheduled through the online meeting booking portal developed by IMTM in-house technical team,” Hawwa Shiuna Khalid, the Managing Director of IMTM, said.

The first edition of IMTM 2018 was held from June 23-24, 2018 at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort. The inaugural event featured 32 hosted buyers representing 19 countries spread throughout five continents. The event also welcomed 127 trade visitors representing 44 resorts, 42 guesthouses, 21 liveaboards, three hotels, and 13 local travel agents and tour operators.

IMTM team has shared the feedback collected from the participants and hosted buyers after a post event survey conducted.

According to the findings, the main objective of participating in IMTM was to build new contacts, 80 per cent of the participants reported that business meetings conducted at IMTM was “valuable”. Forty per cent of the participants reported conducting 21-20 business meetings during the fair. A total of MVR 2.5 million worth of sales were generated at the two-day fair itself. Seventy-eight per cent of the participants said “yes” to participating in IMTM 2019.

Atlanta Tourism, a hosted buyer from Turkey, stated: For the first time it is a very successful organisation. Setups were traditional and well organised. We saw new properties and some alternatives for the traditional and local island tourism.”

Secret Paradise, a trade visitor, also commented: “I think you did an amazing job and you should be proud of what you achieved, even though there will be learning points and things you will want to do differently. I had more meetings with agents interested in the Maldives in the two days than would have done in two days at ITB/WTM at a very cost-effective rate, even with my overnight stays. I look forward to attending 2019.”

IMTM has also made a Request for Proposal (RFP) to accommodate the 50 hosted buyers that will visit IMTM 2019. The detail regarding the RPF is available from IMTM website and the deadline for RFP submission is January 20, 2019.

Registration for both hosted Buyers and local trade visitors are also open through IMTM website. The finalised list of hosted buyers will be published before May 16, 2019 and the deadline for trade visitor registration is May 23, 2019. Similar to last year, trade visitor fee is USD 250 per person per company.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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130 hotels in The Prestige Collection with 4 Maldives properties

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The Prestige Collection has reached 130 hotels in its portfolio, continuing to uphold quality and excellence as core pillars. It represents the most exclusive selection within Keytel, the world’s first alliance of independent hotels.

Since its establishment in 2007, The Prestige Collection has been dedicated to meeting the growing demand for luxury hotels, becoming a reference for hospitality industry specialists. Despite its focus on independent hotels, the collection has successfully attracted prestigious properties from international luxury chains such as Rosewood Villa Magna, Mandarín Oriental Ritz Madrid, and Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. These hotels view The Prestige Collection as a complement to their commercial strategy for attracting luxury clientele.

With a prominent presence both nationally and internationally across 36 countries, The Prestige Collection shines in with four distinguished resorts: Baglioni Resort Maldives, Diamonds Athuruga Maldives Resort & Spa, Diamonds Thudufushi Maldives Resort & Spa, and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Internationally, the collection boasts emblematic properties like Armani Dubai, Café Royal in London, The Pierre in New York, and Kappa Senses in Ubud, Bali, among others.

The collection categorises hotels into four distinctive categories, highlighting ideal places to disconnect, properties in vibrant urban settings, coastal options for those seeking serenity, and unique experiences for those seeking singularity.

Furthermore, this milestone coincides with the relaunch of its new experiential website platform. This platform offers users and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the collection in greater detail and drives qualified traffic to the official websites of member hotels.

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