Maldives to host dedicated shows to promote tourism, local talent

Maldives government on Sunday announced plans to host dedicated shows with local artists in a bid to boost the island nation’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry.

In a statement, tourism ministry said the ‘Visit Maldives Destination Shows’ will be held in local islands as well as abroad.

The initiative aims to promote the unique aspects of different regions within the country whilst fostering local talent, the ministry added.

Applications are open until January 19 for local artists interested in performing at the shows. Islands interested in hosting the show can also send in their application.

Early last year, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced plans to develop tourist destinations and divide them into zones, with marketing strategies focused on informing tourists of the singularity of these zones. This will allow tourism to flourish across the country from north to south, he had said.

However, no details have been disclosed yet.

The Maldives comprises of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains. Incidentally the Maldivian language has the distinct pleasure of contributing to the English word “atoll”, which was derived from the Maldivian word “atholhu”.

There are channels of various sizes between the atolls used for navigation. For efficient administrative functioning, the 26 natural atolls are categorised into 20 administrative divisions. Particularly the island nation is located in a strategic area with access to major international sea routes in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives, located on top of a vast underwater mountain range have around 1190 islands and sandbanks. The pearl string like islands covers a land area of no less than 298 square kilometres.  All the islands are encircled by a lagoon blessed with crystal clear water. These islands are protected by a reef structure, housing one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life.

Maldives concluded 2019 with a record 1.67 million tourists, surpassing the destination’s own revised forecast for the year.

The government has announced an ambitious target of attracting at least two million tourists to the popular Indian Ocean holiday destination in 2020.

The government aims to attract 2.5 million tourist arrivals per year by the end of its first five-year term in 2023.

To achieve this target, the government had added MVR 50 million (USD 3.23 million) to the annual marketing budget of the tourism ministry.

In the state budget for 2020, the government had allocated MVR 154.2 million (USD 9.98 million) for tourism promotion — up from the MVR 104.2 million (USD 6.7 million) in 2019, and MVR 34.73 million (USD 2.2 million) each in 2018 and 2017.

However, challenges remain as the world-famous holiday destination struggles to match demand with a rapid increase in 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 150. 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.

Photo: Mihaaru

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