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Maldives begins 2019 with 6.5 per cent hike in tourist arrivals



Maldives has begun the year with a 6.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals.

Official figures for the month of January released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 151,552 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — a 6.5 per cent increase over the 142,351 tourists in January 2018.

Growth in Europe, the largest regional source market, accelerated in January, as arrivals increased by nine per cent to reach 83,528 from 76,603.

The UK, which is the single biggest European source market, made a gain of 7.8 per cent, whilst several other major European markets such as Italy, France and Spain also posted gains of 17 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. Arrivals from Germany, the second largest European source market, also increased by 17.9 per cent.

Arrivals from Asia, the second largest regional source market, increased by 4.9 per cent in January.

The Chinese market, which had been declining for the past two years, continued to post negative growth in January, as arrivals from the Maldives’ single biggest source market declined by 0.1 per cent to reach 25,804 from 25,830 in January 2018.

Several major contributors to Maldives tourism from South East Asia, which have been posting strong gains over the past year, declined in January, with arrivals from countries such as Thailand, Philippines and Singapore decreasing by 35.1 per cent, 15.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. Arrivals from Malaysia, however, increased by 24.9 per cent.

South Asia, which has become one of the fastest growing source markets, rebounded after major declines during the last few months of 2018. The 25.1 per cent gain in the South Asian market in January 2019 is mainly driven by an impressive 37.2 per cent growth in the Indian market, which saw arrival numbers climb to 11,633 from 8,481 a year ago.

Along with the strong performance in established markets, relatively new markets such as the Americas and Africa also performed well in January.

Arrivals from the US, which has secured a place amongst the top 10 contributors to the Maldives tourism industry, increased by 13.3 per cent to reach 4,454 last month compared to the 3,930 in January 2019, whilst the number of visitors from Australia also increased by 2.8 per cent. South Africa, which has been on the recovery, also posted an increase of 44.6 per cent.

However, arrivals from the Middle East, which has proven to be a volatile market, dipped by 24.6 per ent in January. Arrivals from almost all major Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Qatar posted negative growth of 39.8 per cent, 10.4 per cent, 8.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the only Gulf state to have posted positive growth in January, as arrival numbers increased by 25.3 per cent.

Maldives welcomed a record 1.4 million tourists in 2018. It was a 6.8 per cent increase from the 1,389,542 tourists that chose to holiday in the Maldives in 2017.

Other factors such as average duration of stay, bed nights and occupancy also posted positive growth in 2018.

This positive growth in the tourism industry comes amidst concerns by private organisations representing industry stakeholders such as the Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) over the lack of effort and budget to promote the Maldives as a destination.

These concerns come as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match an increased bed capacity.

Over the past few 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 more than 130. That number is set to increase as another 20 resorts are expected to open 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 500 guesthouses in operation today.

The previous government announced 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.

Meanwhile, the new government has pledged 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.

Photo: LUX* North Male Atoll


Villa Resorts hosts over 200 travel agents from India to showcase its transformation



Villa Resorts, a leading Maldivian resort group, recently hosted a series of events for over 200 travel agents from India.

The events were held to highlight the company’s recent rebranding and to familiarise travel agents with the significant changes made as part of its strategic Blue Ocean Shift.

Villa Resorts has a significant market presence in India, and the events were part of the company’s ongoing efforts to work closely with its partners to showcase its transformation and enhancements in its products and services.

The familiarisation events drew over 200 participants, making it one of the largest series of events for travel agents ever hosted by a Maldivian resort group.

Villa Resorts plans to continue hosting similar events throughout the coming year to promote its growing portfolio of resorts to the Indian market.

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‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion: Four draws, countless winners, more to go



The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion, which launched with great fanfare on June 23, continues to captivate audiences across the nation with its promise of incredible prizes and adrenaline-pumping excitement. As Coca-Cola moves forward, the company has announced not one, but four draws that have rewarded lucky winners with exciting prizes!

The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion has been a huge success, with dozens of lucky winners taking home amazing prizes, such as Benelli motorbikes, helmets, and Charged drink cases. The promotion, which started on June 23, has been attracting customers from all over the Maldives, who have been enjoying the refreshing taste of Charged caffeinated beverage and the thrill of scratching their cards to reveal their codes.

So far, four draws have taken place, each one broadcasted live on Television Maldives (TVM) at 9:30pm. The winners of the Benelli motorbikes were Mohamed Adam, MD Musharraf, Mohamed Rasel Hossain and Ahmed Zahir who were ecstatic to receive their prizes and thanked Charged for making their dreams come true. The winners of the helmets and drink cases were also delighted with their rewards and encouraged others to join the promotion.

But don’t worry if you haven’t won yet, because there are still more chances to win! The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion is not over yet. That means you still have time to grab your favourite Charged drink, scratch your card, and send your code to 2626 via SMS.

As the exciting journey continues, there are two main draws left in this thrilling event, scheduled for September 24 and October 20. You could be the next lucky winner of a Benelli Leoncino 250 motorbike! But the excitement doesn’t stop there; be sure to keep an eye out for the daily draws, with winners announced regularly on the @ChargedMaldives Instagram page. You could stand a chance to win a Charged branded helmet, or a Charged drink case.

Charged, a ground-breaking addition to Coca-Cola Maldives’ beverage portfolio, is available in 250 ml, in 100% recyclable aluminium cans, in line with our packaging strategy to use 100% recyclable packaging material. The caffeinated beverage is now widely available at major retail outlets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes throughout the Maldives.

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JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La unveils Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee



JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La has introduced a special coffee to their collection – Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee. This latest addition to the menu of Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go aims to provide coffee lovers with the unique and delicate taste of Oro’s Arabica Rose.

The hotel was alive with excitement on Thursday evening with the launch of Oro’s 100% Arabica rose. Media personnel and coffee enthusiasts were treated to an exclusive tasting experience of freshly brewed Arabica Rose Coffee along with some tasty finger foods.

The highlight of the evening was a lucky draw giveaway, extending an invitation for all the guests to participate and win a Skechers Maldives voucher and coffee voucher from Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go.

Oro’s Arabica Rose Coffee is now available at Jen’s Kitchen on-the-go. It is the perfect spot to refuel with coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, or a light bite. Customers can now enroll to become a Shangri-La Circle Member and earn points with every purchase at Jen’s Kitchen On- the-Go and enjoy the rewards at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

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