Maldives Aims To Strengthen Ties With French Tourism Sector

Maldives Promotion House – Noting the importance of expanding and diversifying the Maldives’ tourism, President Mohamed Nasheed recently held discussions with leading French travel and tour operators on expanding the tourism sector to cater to clienteles of all income ranges.

During the discussions, President Nasheed said that government is exploring many new and different avenues to further promote the Maldives as a tourist destination. The President highlighted the many economic and policy measures being undertaken to reinvigorate the middle income tourism sector and to attract middle-income holiday makers to the Maldives.

President Nasheed highlighted that “people perceive the Maldives as a dream”, and that most airlines were of the view that tourism in the Maldives caters only to luxury markets. He also stated that the Government and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture are willing to work together with airline representatives to facilitate the operation of cheaper transportation in the Maldives which is considered a promising step towards expansion of Maldivian travel & tourism sector.

During the meeting Ambassador-at-Large Mahir noted on the need for diversification of the tourism market. He further stated the importance of stationing a promotional arm locally, in France, to carry out advertising for the Maldives. The Ambassador-at-Large further suggested that tour operators needed to come down to the Maldives to get a clearer picture of the Maldives as an ideal tourist destination for both luxury and mid-market tourism.

The President also announced that the French flag carrier airline Airfrance is in the process of introducing scheduled flights to the Maldives in late 2012. While preliminary preparations for the scheduled flights would take six months, the president said that “an Airfrance scheduled flight will begin operations to the Maldives in Europe’s winter of 2012.”

The President was accompanied at the meeting by Ambassador-at-Large Ahmed Mahir, and Parliament Member and Chairman of Sun Travel and Tours Ahmed Shiyam Mohamed.

Currently tourist arrivals from France are considerably lower than the British. However the French market grew by nine percent in 2010 from the previous year. Some 50,373 French tourists visited the Maldives in 2009.

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