First Visit Maldives Travel Expo kicks off in Malaysia

First ever Visit Maldives Travel Expo kicked off in Malaysia on Friday.

The exhibition, which takes place July 5-7 at IOI City Mall in the Malaysian administrative capital of Putrajaya, is the first of its kind to be held by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). Its uniqueness is further bolstered by the fact that it is being held in association with AirAsia, the biggest budget airline in the region.

The fair kicked off Friday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of MMPRC, Amanda Woo, Regional Head of Corporate at AirAsia, and Visam Ali, Maldives Ambassador in Malaysia). This was followed by a press briefing.

Seventeen participants across the Maldives tourism industry representing top tour operators, travel agents, resorts and guesthouses are exhibiting at the fair. They are: AAA Hotels & Resorts, Coral Island Maldives, Crown & Champa Resorts, Furaveri Island resort & Spa, Guest House Association of Maldives, Lets Go Maldives, Liyela Retreat, Plumeria Hotels & Resorts, Reollo Travel, Resort Life Maldives, Season Paradise, Seven Ocean Travel, Splendid Asia, Sun Travel & Tours, Travel Connection Maldives, UI Maldives, and Villa Hotels & Resorts.

Whilst the first day of the event is dedicated to the travel trade, the second and third days will be open for consumers. The 150,000-200,000 shoppers that visit the award-winning mall will have the chance to visit the fair from 10am to 9pm on both days.

The whole arena has been designed to showcase the beauty and culture of Maldives. Complementing this, various cultural performances will be held throughout the exhibition. Visitors will also have a chance to taste authentic Maldivian flavours at the Visit Maldives stand. Other highlights include experiencing Maldives through virtual reality.

A raffle draw will select winners for free holidays in Maldives sponsored by Furaveri Island Resort & Spa, Paradise Island Resort & Spa, and Plumeria Maldives along with free tickets from AirAsia.

Meanwhile, AirAsia is also offering 20 per cent discount on all flights to the Maldives for bookings made during the fair. The discount is applicable for trips taken between July 5 and November 21.

“VMTE is a new avenue creating a great platform to open business opportunities for bringing the Malaysian and South East Asian markets to the Maldives, which is a new area of focus for the Maldives tourism. This initiative, together with numerous other activities planned for the rest of the year is anticipated to bring about a significant boost in this important regional market,” MMPRC said, in a statement.

Malaysia is a fast growing source market for Maldives tourism.

Official figures show that 22,202 Malaysian tourists visited the Maldives in 2018 — a 16.3 per cent increase over the 19,092 in 2017. That growth is set to continue this year, as arrivals from Malaysia recorded an 8.6 per cent increase in the first four months of the year to reach 7,800 from 7,185 in the same period last year.

The growth in the Malaysian market is boosted by AirAsia’s direct flight operations to the Maldives.

AirAsia currently operates a daily service connecting Kuala Lumpur and Male, utilising its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft with 180 and 186 seat capacity. Separately, its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X serves the same route four days a week using Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 377-seat capacity, including 12 Premium Flatbed seats.

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