MMPRC hosts first ever Tourism Marketeers Evening to brainstorm new promotional activities

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has the first ever Tourism Marketeers Evening, bringing together marketing professionals from the Maldives’ hospitality industry for discussions on pressing issues.

Marketing professionals from resorts, guesthouses, liveabords and travel agencies participated in the event held on September 10 at Kurumba Maldives.

Initiating the programme, Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of MMPRC, highlighted the importance of aligning MMPRC’s marketing efforts with those carried out industry stakeholders.

“We hear many expert opinions everyday about the potential for even more types of tourism and products for our industry. Therefore, we believe exchange of ideas between the industry professionals will help us better envision our future,” he said.

“We are also preparing to market Maldives brand to niche markets such as MICE, cultural, sports and recreational tourism. These are just few of the many possible paths we can take to diversify our marketing.”

The session was divided into two main components; firstly, discussions were held on the marketing efforts carried out by MMPRC this year, whilst the second part of the evening saw the exchange of ideas for new promotional activities.

“It was a fruitful discussion where the stakeholders shared numerous enhancements to MMPRC’s current activities and possible activities for the year 2020,” a statement issued by MMPRC read.

MMPRC is currently carrying out fairs, roadshows, global campaigns, joint campaigns, as well as digital marketing activities in 23 markets.

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.

The one millionth visitor of the year arrived in the Maldives on August 2 — 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.

According to official figures, 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.

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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