Maldives achieves 1.5 mln visitor target

Maldives on Sunday welcomed the 1.5 millionth tourist of the year, reaching the destination’s target for tourist arrivals this year.

At a special event held at Velana International Airport Sunday morning, officials from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the tourism ministry welcomed Marina Kazakova from Russia.

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The event commenced with the stamping of Kazakova’s passport by the Maldives immigration. She was presented with a commemorative sash, before being escorted with a traditional Maldivian Bodu Beru performance to the arrival hall.

Tourism minister Ali Waheed and Thoyyib Mohamed, the Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), greeted Kazakova and her husband at the arrival hall.

Officials from the airport operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) as well as several industry representatives also attended the ceremony.

A complimentary holiday, sponsored by Mirihi Island Resort, was also awarded to Kazakova. Minister Waheed and Erdal Altinok, the Director of Business Development at Mirihi Island Resort, handed over the package.

According to latest official figures, total arrivals for the first nine months of the year increased by 15.8 per cent to reach 1,251,690 compared to the 1,080,459 in 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.

The government had 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.

Meanwhile, the government had proposed adding MVR 50 million (USD 3.23 million) to the annual marketing budget of the tourism ministry.

In the proposed state budget for 2020, the government had allocated MVR 154.2 million (USD 9.98 million) for tourism promotion.

The parliament is currently reviewing the budget.

The new government, which came to power in 2018, 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) in 2018 and 2017.

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