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Maldives 2019 tourist arrivals cross one million

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Maldives has welcomed over a million tourists this year, as the destination attempts to reach an ambitious target of 1.5 million visitors over the next three months.

Tourism minister Ali Waheed told journalists on Wednesday that the one millionth visitor of the year arrived in the Maldives on August 2.

“Through renewed efforts, we are confident that we will be able to welcome 1.5 million tourists by the first anniversary of our administration (on November 11),” the minister said.

The Maldives marks one millionth visitor milestone this year a month ahead of last year. In 2018, the one millionth mark was reached on September 9 whilst it was celebrated in October the previous year.

Meanwhile, official figures for the month of July released by the tourism ministry show that a total of 132,144 tourists visited the Maldives during the month — an eight per cent increase over July 2018.

According to the July statistics, total arrivals for the past seven months of the year increased by 17.2 per cent to reach 994,733 compared to the same period last year.

The strong performance in the January-July period is mostly due to a significant rise in tourist arrivals from the traditional Europe market, which recorded year-over-year growth of 16 per cent, and the relatively new Asia Pacific market, which recorded year-over-year growth of 17.4 per cent.

Tourist arrivals from Europe stood at 487,165 in the past seven months, accounting to a market share of 49 per cent, whilst Asia Pacific contributed 41.5 per cent of the total tourist arrivals with 413,066 tourists from the region holidaying in the Maldives by the end of July.

Relatively new markets such as the Americas, Africa and the Middle East also maintained their strong performance.

Arrivals from the Americas increased by 26.6 per cent to reach 49,821 in the January-July period compared to the same period last year, accounting to 26.6 per cent of the total tourist arrivals.

Middle East also saw its market share reach 3.5 per cent due to a 16.6 per cent increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the January-July period, whilst Africa, which observed a 24.9 per cent growth in arrivals, contributed one per cent of the total tourist arrivals over the past seven months.

All the top five source markets posted positive growth in arrivals by the end of July.

China maintained its position as the top contributor to Maldives tourism with a marketshare of 17.4 per cent, as arrivals from China increased by 7.6 per cent during the January-July period to reach 172,834.

India, which had overtaken traditional European markets to claim the second spot, maintained its position, as the Maldives’ closest neighbour retained a marketshare of 9.4 per cent with a 99.2 per cent growth in tourist arrivals during the past seven months of the year.

Italy, which had in May lost the second place to India, maintained its position as the third biggest source market with a market share of 8.1 per cent. Arrivals from Italy increased by 32.3 per cent to reach 80,713 in the January-July period.

Germany and the UK, which slid to fourth and fifth position in May, exchanged places, as the UK claimed the fourth position with a marketshare of 7.4 per cent, whilst Germany’s market share dropped to 7.2 per cent by the end of July. Arrivals from Germany grew by 10.4 per cent to reach 71,479 during the past seven months of the year, whilst visitor numbers from the UK saw an increase of 11.1 per cent to reach 73,262 during the period.

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.

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Baros Maldives: The Perfect Setting for a Joyful Easter in the Maldives

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Baros is a treasure nestled in the Indian Ocean, just waiting to be discovered. This Easter, uncover the myriad of delights on offer for guests celebrating the holiday on our pristine island shores. 

From sunrise dolphin cruises to underwater marvels, serene spa journeys and delicious culinary sensations, every moment on Baros is a magical surprise. From 29th March to 4th April 2024, the Baros team has curated a special program of Easter celebration. Choose from a wide range of specially crafted experiences and curate your very own Easter escape of a lifetime. 

Baros delights the senses. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from snorkelling, diving and exciting excursions to unparalleled destination dining experiences and sensational spa moments. 

Guests are invited to harvest fresh and exotic ingredients from Baros’s Chef’s Garden for a unique meal preparation under the expert guidance of our award-winning chefs. Alternatively, they can immerse themselves in the allure of a specially curated menu, set by the seashore under a tapestry of stars. Every dish is a culinary masterpiece, creating unforgettable moments. 

For adventure on the high seas, guests can spend the day exploring five traditional fishing methods across multiple stunning locations on a fishing extravaganza. Or set sail on Baros’s luxury yacht, Serenity for a sunrise frolic with playful dolphins. 

At Baros, guests are welcomed to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Maldivian culture as local traditions come alive. Delve into the rich history and customs of our island sanctuary as you tantalise your senses with local delicacies, participate in interactive experiences and listen to captivating narratives from a local historian. 

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The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands Announces 2024 Masters of Crafts Program With Stellar Line-Up of Guest Experiences

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The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is set to  welcome a shining season of global talent in its signature Masters of Crafts program for the second year  running. Working with some of the world’s most talented masters of food and drink, wellness, adventure  and environmental innovation, the resort’s curation of considered guest experiences has transformative  travel at its heart. From epicurean journeys with Michelin Star chefs and award-winning bartenders, retreats  guided by leading names in wellness, to adventure and learning with surf icons and environmental thought  leaders, 2024 guarantees extraordinary memories of a lifetime.  

The series, which last year included two Michelin Star British chef Tom Sellers with decorated bartenders  from Singapore’s Vijay Mudaliar of Native, to Malaysia’s Jungle Bird and celebrity crystal healer Emma  Knowles, will run throughout 2024 bringing a star-studded choice of dates to the luxury travel agenda. 

The resort’s signature Behind the Bar series is set to impress in 2024. Opening on the 8th March and running  through to the 6th December, this exclusive program promises an exquisite fusion of international mixology  talent, sustainability-focused concepts, and a celebration of local ingredients. Guests will have access to  some of the world’s most decorated drinksmiths with a line-up including; Stockholm’s Hampus Thunholm  from Röda Huset, 8th-13th March, Paul Aguilar & Maros Dzurus from HIMKOK, 5th-6th April, Republic from Singapore, 24th – 25th July, Bangkok’s Matteo Cadeddu from Opium, 9th-10th August, New York’s  Harrison Ginsberg from Overstory, 18th-19th September, Berlin’s Damien Guichard from Wax On, 22nd, 23rd November and Paris’ Hyacinthe Lescoet from The Cambridge Public House, 5th-6th December.

This Easter, from 27th March – 2nd April, New York based meditation practitioner and contemplative  guide Kirat Randhawa, will inspire guests to approach life through a different lens. Randhawa will share  practical tools for self-care on a journey of discovery where transformative sessions and empowering  wellness practices will include; cultivating stillness, igniting and welcoming reflection, inviting expansion,  practicing reinforcement and deepening integration.  

From 23rd-27th May an immersive wellness retreat brings together global gurus of practice with The  Essence of Balance – Elemental Harmony. A week-long program will follow a journey driven by the  spiritual power of the number five and the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and spirit. Guiding a cosmic  dance are five practitioners each custodians of an elemental force.  

California-based international yoga teacher Josh Kramer brings the grounding element of earth with his  celebrated practice blending Iyengar and vinyasa flow. Movement instructor and founder of the Jacy Method, Jacy Cunningham introduces his powerful method of physical movement representing the  adaptability of water, while sound healer and Reiki master Nicole Rutsch will harness the intellect of air  and the power of nature’s vibrations. New York’s Jackie Stewart will channel transcendence of spirit with guided meditation, while guests will be nourished by Nicole Berrie, founder of cult wellness guide,  Bonberi, with a plant-based menu of her most celebrated dishes representing the transformative element of  fire.  

In a Summer of Renewal, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands is committed to ensuring that all guests  ‘Leave Better’. From 19th-23rd July, celebrity healer and founder of the sound healing school The Copper  Vessel, Susy Markoe Schieffelin, will take residency with a soothing practice guided by the moon. Under  Maldivian skies guests will bathe in Susy’s signature sound baths as enjoyed by millions worldwide, with her clients including Google, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and solo artist LeAnn Rimes. From 15th-20th August the Summer transformation continues with movement guidance from celebrated practitioner and  founder of Project Woman, Abi Adams. During two programs guests will embark on an emotional journey and exploration of hormonal balance with tools of meridian dance, rhythm meditation, music, yoga and  creative writing.  

A first for the resort, 2024 sees the introduction of two retreats partnering with championship surf heroes Nic von Rupp and Victor Bernardo. During the Maldives’ optimum surf season of June and July, the exhilarating escapes led by von Rupp and Bernardo will allow guests to ride and master the four most  popular waves in the North Malé Atoll comprising Chicken, Cokes Surf Break, Honkeys and Jailbreak.  

With his trademark touch of Portuguese flair and German strength, Nic Von Rupp is one of the top ‘big  wave’ surfers in the world. Two-time finalist of ‘World Surf League Big Wave Performance of the Year’,  von Rupp spends his time in pursuit of the world’s largest swells and will take the helm at The Ritz-Carlton  Maldives, Fari Islands from 4th-13th June. Brazilian big wave surfer Victor Bernardo was born on a board,  surfing from the age of four and with global accolades under his belt, he is one to watch on the free surfer  circuit. Bernardo will lead a guest retreat from 1st-7th July

Growing its stable of exceptional gastronomic experiences, 2024 will see pop-up residencies with an  impressive circle of culinary friends. From 27th July-3rdAugust, two Michelin Star and one Michelin Green  Star, Chef Bruno Verjus brings a taste of his Paris restaurant Table by Bruno Verjus to the Fari Islands.  For two nights only, an exquisite menu from the home of the famed ‘tarte au chocolat avec caviar’ will be  created and served under the stars at the resort’s Beach Shack. Guests will also have the opportunity to join  Verjus in an exclusive masterclass, and for the winning bidders of the Marriott Bonvoy Moments’ package, the chance to embark on a big game fishing excursion.  

From 10th-12th August Chef Pam Soontornyanakij, newly crowned Asia’s Best Female Chef 2024, will  bring her celebrated mastery from Bangkok’s Potong. The first and youngest female chef to receive both a  Michelin Star and ‘Opening of the Year’ award from the Michelin guide in the same year will present a  bespoke menu of her progressive Thai-Chinese cuisine in an exclusive two-night residency at Summer  Pavilion.

Chef Rolf Fliegaulkf, founder and executive chef of Switzerland’s Ecco will take over the resort’s Beach  Shack for two nights from 12th-14th November. The two Michelin Star and 18 Gault Millau points’  Fliegaulkf will unveil a creative menu bursting with exquisite flavour pairings demonstrating his signature  approach of ‘purist aroma cuisine’. 

The resort’s Visiting Heroes for 2024 bring inspired interactions with conservationists and environmental  thought leaders. From 8th-18th April legendary ocean explorer, film maker and conservationist Jean-Michel  Cousteau will be returning to the resort in continuation of the Ambassadors of the Environment program  and to provide a truly unique residency. Cousteau will host several presentations focused on marine biology,  lead a number of dives with guests including coral regeneration, and chair a thought-provoking panel  discussion alongside marine biologists and representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change,  Environment, and Energy. An exclusive Marriott Bonvoy Moments’ experience will be available to two  lucky guests via bid application, closing on the 23rd March. 

Joining the Visiting Heroes series, climate activist and Forbes 30 under 30 for social impact, Saad  Amer will play a pivotal role in the development of the resort’s sustainability agenda this year. A UN  consultant and named ‘most influential voice in ESG’ by WWD, Amer will be launching new sustainability  initiatives while undertaking educational programming with local islands and schools as part of the resort’s Community Footprints program. Dates for guest presentations and exclusive panel sessions will be announced soon. 

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MMPRC strengthens destination presence in the Indian market at SATTE 2024

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) strengthens destination presence in the Indian market at SATTE 2024 alongside 57 representatives from 34 companies from the Maldives tourism industry. This event is being held from 22nd to 24th February 2024 at India Expo Mart, Delhi.

SATTE has established itself as the biggest networking forum for the travel and tourism industry in South Asia. Visit Maldives is showcasing the unique beauty and the distinctive experiences of the Sunny Side of Life as a short-haul holiday destination for Indian travellers at this event.

SATTE 2024 provides an extensive platform for the industry leaders and travel  trade partners to  connect,  network,  and showcase their products and services. Participation in this event assists in sharing the latest updates about  the destination, the unique selling points of our tourism products  and  the various experiences available in the Maldives with the participating travel trade representatives. Additionally, it provides  numerous opportunities for the industry partners to disseminate the latest information about their individual properties and unique offers.

Visitors can expect a range of activities at the Maldives stand at SATTE 2024, including meetings with key travel trade professionals and other partners, along  with  media interviews. Free holiday getaways will also be given to the lucky winners through a raffle.

India  was  the top source market to the destination last year with 208,876 arrivals received by 31st December 2023, which is 14.4 percent of the total market share. MMPRC consistently conducts various marketing activities targeting this market to maintain destination momentum. Several marketing activities are planned to be held throughout 2024 for this market as well. These marketing activities ensure that the Maldives remain a top-of-mind destination for the Indian market.

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