ULTRAs 2020: Maldives crowned fav holiday destination

For travellers around the world, Maldives is their go-to country for a holiday!

The popular Indian Ocean holiday destination cemented its already well-established status at the 2020 Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards (ULTRAs).

Every year the readers of telegraph.co.uk and luxury travel magazine Ultratravel are invited to vote for their favourite operators, airlines, hotels and destinations in the world of luxury travel. Their opinions determine the results of the ULTRAs, with the winners announced this year at a ceremony held at the Emerald Palace Kempinski in Dubai.

The ‘Favourite Country for a Holiday’ category is fiercely contested, but the Maldives came out on top, beating destinations such as Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the United States.

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.

The destination is known for its upmarket tourism industry, with luxury resorts numbering in the 150s. The industry has recently expanded to accommodate more affordable holiday options such as guesthouses.

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.

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