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Maldives posts 10.9 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in May



Maldives posted an impressive growth of 10.9 per cent in tourists arrivals in May, as the Indian Ocean holiday destination welcomed more than 100,000 tourists during the first month of the traditionally low tourist season.

Official figures for the month of May released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 103,022 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — a 10.9 per cent increase over the 92,913 tourists in May 2018.

The strong performance is mostly due to a significant rise in tourist arrivals from Asia Pacific, which recorded a 27.2 per cent growth.

Chinese market, which has rebounded after two years of major declines, recorded a 24.1 per cent growth, as arrivals reached 21,010 in May from 16,927 a year ago. This strong performance widened the increase in arrivals from the Maldives’ single biggest source market for the January-May period to 11 per cent.

Growth in South Asia, which has become one of the fastest growing source markets, also accelerated by an impressive 97.1 per cent in May, thanks to a 99.6 per cent increase in arrivals from India. A total of 17,389 tourists visited the Maldives in May from its closest neighbour compared to the 8,711 a year ago.

However, several major contributors to Maldives tourism from South East Asia, which have been posting strong gains over the past year, posted declines in May, with arrivals from countries such as Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore decreasing by 24.6 per cent, 40.4 per cent and 8.5 per cent, respectively. Arrivals from Thailand, however, increased by 4.9 per cent.

Relatively new markets such as the Americas maintained their strong performance in May.

Arrivals from the US, which has secured a place amongst the top 10 contributors to Maldives tourism, increased by 20 per cent to reach 3,389 last month compared to the 2,825 in May 2018, whilst the number of visitors from Australia also increased by 20.6 per cent.

Despite the stellar performance in May, there are worrying signs.

The largest regional source market of Europe posted a rare decline of 3.8 per cent in May, as arrivals decreased to 38,519 from 40,056 a year ago. This was due to major declines in important European source markets such as Germany (down 29.3 per cent), France (down 21.4 per cent) and Switzerland (down 17.8 per cent). The UK, which is the single biggest European source market, Italy and Spain are the only major European markets that recorded positive growth — 14.2 per cent, 5.7 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively — in May.

Middle East, which has proven to be a volatile market, also posted a major decline of 64.2 per cent in May. Arrivals from almost all major Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia (down 60.4 per cent), Kuwait (down 71.8 per cent), Egypt (37.6 per cent), Qatar (down 82.3 per cent) and the United Arab Emirates (down 82.3 per cent) posted negative growth.

According to the May statistics, total arrivals for the first five months of the year increased by 18.4 per cent to reach 749,114 compared to the 632,729 in the same period last year.

Tourist demographics remained largely unchanged in the first five months of the year, as Europe dominated with a marketshare of 53 per cent of the total tourist arrivals, followed by Asia Pacific with 38 per cent marketshare. Americas secured the third position with five per cent marketshare, whilst Middle East slid to the fourth with three per cent marketshare. African countries also contributed one per cent to the total tourist arrivals to the Maldives.

All the top 10 source markets posted positive growth in arrivals by the end of May.

China (marketshare of 15.5 percent) and Italy (marketshare of 9.5 per cent) maintained their position as the two biggest contributors to Maldives tourism, with arrivals from China increasing by 11.2 per cent to reach 116,282 and arrivals from Italy increasing by 34.2 per cent to reach 71,334 during the January-May period.

India overtook Germany and the UK, which slid to fourth and fifth position with a marketshare of 8.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively, to claim the third spot, as the Maldives’ closest neighbour increased its marketshare to 8.8 per cent with a 96.4 per cent growth in tourist arrivals during the first five months of the year. Arrivals from Germany and the UK, however, grew by 18.8 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively.

France, which saw its marketshare fall to 4.8 per cent, slid to the seventh position, as Russia claimed the sixth position with a marketshare of 5.1 per cent. Arrivals from Russia increased by 9.8 per cent to reach 38,156 by the end of May, whilst the number of French tourists visiting the Maldives in the same period grew by 22.7 per cent to reach 35,944.

The US and Japan maintained their respective rankings as the eighth and ninth biggest contributor to Maldives tourism. Arrivals from the US market increased by 38.4 per cent to reach 24,151 in the first five months of the year, whilst the number of Japanese tourists visiting the Maldives in the same period increased by 19.3 per cent to reach 19,756.

Meanwhile, Sweden was pushed out of the top 10 source markets, as Switzerland claimed the 10th position with a marketshare of 2.3 per cent. Arrivals from Switzerland grew by 2.1 per cent in the January-May period to reach 17,500.

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.

Meanwhile, government has revised its forecast for the number of tourists visiting the island nation this year, increasing the estimate to a record 1.6 million from 1.5 million.

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: Kihaa Maldives


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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