Maldives: Kuoni’s best-selling destination for 17th year
Maldives has for the 17th consecutive year retained the number one spot amongst travellers booking their holidays through Kuoni.
There are no real shocks at the top of the list compiled by UK’s leading tour operator as part of its Worldwide Travel Report 2020, with the paradise island nation of the Maldives retaining the top spot for the 17th year in a row, and Mauritius, Thailand and Sri Lanka following in positions two, three and four respectively.
The Maldives also topped the lists of the best honeymoon and family destination for 2020.
In 1972, Kuoni was the first UK tour operator to offer Maldives holidays and the region has seen steady growth, welcoming over 1.5 million visitors in 2019.
“Kuoni continues to cherry-pick the best resorts to ensure an authentic stay and new additions include Reethi Faru, with memorable dining locations including cabanas lit by flaming torches; and OBLU Select at Sangeli, which has a dedicated adults-only island, and one of the Maldives’ first all-vegetarian restaurants,” the report read.
“Seven islands are exclusive to Kuoni guests in the UK, including the new-look five-star Maafushivaru, opening in March, and Kuramathi Maldives, which continues to be Kuoni’s most popular island.”
Meanwhile, 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.