Maldives sponsors intl football tournament to diversify destination marketing campaign

Maldives has sponsored an international football tournament attended by the under-13 teams of world-renowned football clubs, in a bid to diversify the island nation’s destination marketing campaign.

Maldives is the platinum sponsor of the Under-13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup that runs from February 14-16. As part of the sponsorship deal valued at USD 25,000, one of the two pitches used for the tournament has been named, ‘Visit Maldives’.

“Quarter final and semi final matches will be played at the pitch named after the Maldives. This is a huge pride for us as a nation and as a destination,” tourism minister Ali Waheed told journalists at the airport, before leaving to Dubai to attend the kick-0ff game.

The ‘Visit Maldives’ logo has also been placed on the jersey of Spanish Soccer Schools team participating in the tournament.

“During my visit to Dubai, I’ll be discussing with major football clubs about possible sponsorship opportunities. We’re already in talks with some key players. We’re very hopeful that these negotiations will be fruitful,” minister Waheed said.

“We’re considering promoting the Maldives through other sports as well.”

The third edition of the annual Under-13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup, which is organised by Spanish football legend Michel Salgado, boasts some top 20 clubs from 13 countries.

The tournament plays out at Dubai Sports City with the participation of major teams, including Spanish clubs FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, Italian giants Juventus, England’s Chelsea and FC Porto, and Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

The United Arab Emirates has a sizeable representation with Dubai clubs Al Nasr, Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli participating alongside Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda and Al Ain.

A Tokyo Select All Star team from Japan is also at the tournament along with Australia’s Pascoe Vale FC, FC Twente of Holland, Levante Azzuro of Italy, Japan’s JEF United Chiba, and a team representing Cairo. The Canadian Academy of Futbol is flying the flag of the Americas once again, whilst the Spanish Soccer Schools complete the list of 20 teams.

This sponsorship is part of the new government’s pledge to ramp up tourism promotion.

Reflecting the new government’s pledge, the state budget for 2019 includes MVR 104,200,000 (USD 6.7 million) for tourism promotion, up from MVR 34,733,333 (USD 2.2 million) this year and the previous year.

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