Maldives on Saturday welcomed the 100,000th visitor since the reopening of its borders in July.
At a grand event held at Velana International Airport Saturday morning, tourism ministry, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Immigration and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) jointly identified and welcomed the 100,000th tourist.
“Surpassing the milestone of 100,000 tourists in advance of the projections is really encouraging. This achievement is the outcome of a unified #MaldivesApproach to a global challenge. This is the result of HEP Solih’s courageous decision to open the Maldives borders with a whole of government, whole of travel and tourism industry and whole of community approach to ensure this vital industry is set in motion with a strong focus on safety with the minimum possible inconvenience to tourists,” tourism minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom said.
“Thanks to travel and tourism industry partners, employees, and associations; health professionals, related government authorities and councils; the diplomatic and international community and lovely people of the Maldives; the team members of Immigration, Airports Company, Tourist Police, Port Health, Customs, MMPRC and Ministry of Tourism. We thank the tourists for visiting us and sharing their #MaldivesExperience to the world. You all made this possible.”
The 100,000th tourist, Jasmin Burki, arrived from Switzerland via Emirates.
On arrival, officials of MMPRC and Maldives Immigration, along with a deputy tourism minister, MMPRC Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed, Controller General of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain and MACL CEO Gordon Andrew Stewart accompanied the lucky tourist.
Immigration controller Hussain also handed over a special gift to her.
“I am delighted to welcome the 100,000th tourist today. It was unimaginable, but I saw the thirst of the related agencies and industry stakeholders to achieve this milestone in such a short period of time. This gives us the assurance that, even under dire circumstances, we can achieve remarkable things by working together,” he said.
“With wishful thinking, dedication and significant innovation on the policy front, our tourism industry is coming back from the depths of collapse by a swift rebound in growth. I would also like to ensure that Maldives Immigration will embrace new technologies and utilise all available resources to fast-track the passage for tourists. The launching of the world’s first nation-wide loyalty programme, Maldives Border Miles is one such initiative and we aim to achieve new heights in 2021, together with our joint stakeholders.”
Upon receiving the special gift pack, Jasmin then took a photo by the official jetty with the special “Instagram Frame” which highlights that Maldives is the World’s Leading Destination of 2020.
MMPRC Managing Director Thoyyib, MACL CEO Steward and the deputy tourism minister also handed a special holiday gift.
Thoyyib congratulated Burki and gave her a warm welcome.
“I am beyond thrilled to welcome the 100,000th visitor to the sunny side of life, today. This is indeed, the success of joint efforts and collaborations with everyone working in the tourism industry. Our teamwork ensured that we reached this stage during such challenging times,” he said.
“I would like to assure everyone that Maldives is one of the safest countries to visit right now and that we will work strategically in order for it to remain on top of the preferred tourist destinations.”
During such a crucial time, such achievements contribute to the success of the Maldives tourism industry, and the rising tourist arrival numbers are an indication that Maldives is one of the safest destinations to travel to right now.
It is anticipated that the 500,000th tourist of 2020 will arrive by late December, and that the country will reach peak arrival rates during the year of 2021.
“This is truly an amazing day as we receive the 100,000th tourist to the Maldives. As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, for around four months we were without any commercial airlines to Velana International Airport,” The MACL CEO Stewart said.
“Despite those difficult times, I am really impressed with how quickly the Maldives took fast and decisive action to combat the Covid-19 pandemic situation and maintain our sunny side of life, on the world stage. Velana International Airport was awarded the ACI Health Accreditation Certificate, the 2nd Airport from Asia Pacific to achieve this. The Maldives was awarded the Safe Travel Stamp from UNWTO and the title of World’s Leading Destination by the World Travel Awards. Recognition of its premier destination status on the world stage. All this hard work has been rewarded with ever increasing numbers of passengers flying in every month since our borders reopened on the 15th July 2020. The future now looks brighter for the Maldives and I sincerely thank all stakeholders and contributors who have made Maldives such a truly great destination to holiday in.”
Last year was a remarkable one in the history of Maldives’ tourism, with a groundbreaking record of 1.7 million tourist arrivals to the country.
This year started off with more diversified and aggressive marketing strategies to break this record and reach a target of two million tourist arrivals by the end of the year.
However, due to the ongoing global pandemic, Maldives had to close its borders on March 27.
After almost four months of border closure, the tourism industry reopened on July 15, with enhanced precautionary measures against Covid-19. A safe tourism guideline was issued by the tourism ministry.
Resorts and liveaboards resumed operations on this date, whereas guesthouses resumed operations on October 15. As of December 14, guesthouses and hotels in the greater Male region are also scheduled to reopen.
Since the border reopening, there has been a gradual increase in tourist arrivals with the establishment of travel bubbles between Maldives and other countries, as well as a greater connectivity in terms of flight operations. Over 18 airlines are currently traveling to and from Maldives, from all around the globe.
On December 6, Maldives broke the record of daily arrivals since the reopening which was a total of 3,006 tourists, whereas the air traffic movement on this date was 352.
The positive development about arrival numbers reflect strong demand seen by travel agents and tour operators in several source markets. It also follows the resumption of scheduled passenger services by several global airlines.
Travel firm Kuoni has revealed that travellers in the UK were planning to splash out on luxury Christmas overseas trips after settling for summer staycations, with demand for year-end getaways in Maldives on the arise.
Bookings for 2021 trips to the Maldives are also on the rise.
Recent Google search data has also shown the Maldives as the top holiday destination among Europeans for next year.
Meanwhile, air connectivity between the Maldives and several major tourist source markets is also improving.
The Maldives reopened its borders on July 15.
With the border reopening, 30-day free on-arrival visa is issued to all tourists with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country.
There is no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival, but tourists have to complete an online health declaration form and provide a negative PCR test result taken at least 96 hours prior to their departure.
Visitors with symptoms of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or those travelling with someone who has similar symptoms are also tested at their own expense.
Experience All the Magic of Easter Candyland at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi
As the spring sunshine sparkles on the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean, Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi invites couples seeking the ultimate escapism and families looking to spend moments of togetherness this Easter break. Nestled in the picturesque Shaviyani Atoll, the private island retreat will transform into an Easter Candyland filled with sweet delights and confectionary creations. Whimsical and full of vibrancy, the extraordinary lineup of experiences promises guests of every generation an unforgettable escape, from indulgent feasts under the stars and colorful egg hunts to chocolate-infused treatments at Fairmont Spa.
From 24 March to 12 April, the resort presents an immersive calendar of events and activities where guests can celebrate special moments in elevated luxury, savor exquisite culinary journeys, embark on new adventures, and make memories that will last for a lifetime.
“Easter is a time of renewal and joyful reconnection, and our team has curated a program of experiences that celebrates the joy of Easter and the spirit of togetherness,” says Steven Stefaniuk, General Manager at Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi.
Dining is a sensational experience in this idyllic island paradise. Guests can savor local and global flavors at the beachfront Raha Market, indulge in Asian favorites at Kata, enjoy a spectacular by-the-sea dining experience at Azure, and taste a range of creative cocktails at Onu Onu. On 31 March, the island will host an extravagant Easter-themed lunch and pool party featuring a range of global Easter favorites and mouth-watering desserts, complete with fun activities, live music, and entertainment.
Parents can watch in delight as their little ones spark their curiosity and imagination at the Kids’ Club and discover various Candyland-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, cupcake and cookie decorating, and egg and face painting. Furthermore, budding eco-warriors can participate in repurposing plastic waste into bespoke souvenirs at the Sustainability Lab and join ocean life conservation activities with the Marine Biology team.
Guests can restore their inner balance and achieve renewed energy with the offerings of award-winning Fairmont Spa, including nature-inspired wellbeing sessions and the ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ treatment that soothes the body in smooth and revitalizing sensations. Moreover, active travelers can participate in sunrise yoga, beach game challenges, water sports, and interactive coaching with LUX Tennis.
In the mood for adventure? Dive into one of the flourishing dive sites in Shaviyani Atoll with the resort’s dive partner, Sub Oceanic, snorkel the 9-km-long house reef to discover over 250 species of marine life, or join a sunset cruise in search of dozens of playful dolphins that love to leap out from the sea.
Timeless Family Fun Package – Children Under 12 Stay and Dine for Free
The resort presents the ‘Timeless Family Fun’ package with a complimentary meal plan upgrade, Easter treats and amenities, and delightful dining experiences for the whole family. Book a 4-night stay or more in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas, offering the perfect blend of privacy and togetherness, and enjoy:
- Complimentary upgrade from Bed & Breakfast to Half-Board package
- Children below 12 years of age stay and dine for free
- Easter Sunday Lunch and Egg Hunt activity
- Floating breakfast once during the stay
- Family-style beach dinner once during the stay
- Guided tour of the Sustainability Lab and underwater Coralarium
- 25% discount on spa treatments
Celebrate Earth Week with Nature’s Embrace at Oaga Art Resort
Join Oaga Art Resort from March 21st to 27th, 2024, for a week dedicated to connecting with the beauty and wonder of our planet. Immerse yourself in a program filled with creative activities, meaningful experiences, and a deep appreciation for Earth’s magic.
Unwind with Earth-inspired creativity:
March 21st, as the world celebrates Poetry Day, start your day with a poetic breakfast, followed by a lunchtime fusion of traditional Maldivian Boduberu beats and poetry called ‘Farihi’. In the evening, enjoy some poetry reading and a captivating performance by local duo “Something Lovely”.
On March 22nd, tap your feet to the lively rhythms of a Boduberu jam session at lunch. As the stars emerge, witness the artistry of a sand artist create their magic on the Raa Baa deck.
Connect with nature in a mindful way:
March 23rd, as part of Earth Hour, join a peaceful candlelit Earth Meditation and sound healing session. Later, light your own candle and take part in an art installation under the moonlight. Savour a delicious Earth-conscious buffet and enjoy unplugged music around a bonfire.
On the same day, a special coral planting cocktail is to take place during sunset at the beach. Witness firsthand the wonders of coral restoration as you help plant 60+ coral frames in Oaga’s reef nursery. This project, in partnership with Coralive, aims to completely restore the house reef by 2028. Savour refreshing cocktails and learn about the crucial role coral reefs play in our ecosystem while contributing to a sustainable future.
Celebrate Holi traditions with an eco-twist:
March 25th, witness the creation of a stunning sand mandala and participate in the traditional Full Moon ritual. Dance the night away at a vibrant Holi Full moon party with minimal lighting and glow-in-the-dark paint.
Reflect and reminisce under the stars:
March 26th, cuddle up for a captivating movie night featuring nature documentaries under the starlit sky.
A grand finale on World Theatre Day:
On March 27th, engage your children in a fun puppet show and enjoy a live performance by the energetic band Sky Rock. The week culminates with a special Earth-themed solo performance at the Kaa Kada dinner in celebration of World Theatre Day.
Beyond these highlights, Earth Week weaves its theme throughout Oaga’s daily activities. Whether it is to explore nature-inspired percussion in Take Notes sessions or to let your kids unleash their creativity with eco-friendly crafts in the Fiyoh Kid’s Club, there is something engaging for everyone.
Join Oaga and embark on a journey that reconnects you with nature, celebrates our planet, and leaves you feeling empowered to make a positive difference.
Hurawalhi Island Resort’s Exemplary Commitment to Marine Conservation Shines in the Maldives
Hurawalhi Island Resort, nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of the Maldives, proudly reaffirms its steadfast dedication to marine conservation through pioneering initiatives aimed at safeguarding the region’s diverse marine ecosystems.
Saoirse Macklin, the esteemed Resident Marine Biologist at Hurawalhi Island Resort, emphasizes the Maldives’ distinguished status as one of the world’s most biodiverse marine environments. “At Hurawalhi, we prioritize the dissemination of knowledge and wonder about our marine world,” states Macklin. “As a Marine Biologist, it’s been a privilege to inspire and educate guests about the remarkable marine life surrounding our island.”
Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation materializes through a range of educational experiences offered to guests. From immersive Turtle Tours, shedding light on the pivotal role of seagrass in sustaining turtle populations, to awe-inspiring Manta Search excursions, each journey represents an enlightening voyage of discovery.
During these excursions, science and education take precedence, ensuring guests acquire profound insights into the intricate ecosystems enveloping the island. As the resident Marine Biologist, Macklin spearheads efforts to monitor and safeguard turtle and manta populations, employing cutting-edge photo identification techniques to meticulously track and document individual specimens during every expedition.
Hurawalhi extends a warm invitation to guests to partake in Marine Biologist-guided reef snorkeling experiences, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore coral reef and seagrass ecosystems while championing their preservation. Participants not only revel in the splendor of the house reef but also actively engage in efforts to protect these delicate habitats.
Furthermore, Hurawalhi’s commitment to marine conservation is evident in its ongoing projects. The resort’s diligent monitoring and maintenance of its artificial reef program adjacent to the iconic 5.8 Underwater Restaurant aim to rejuvenate and revitalize reef systems. In 2021, a total of 114 artificial reef frames were transplanted, laying the groundwork for reef regeneration.
Recent initiatives include the creation of “festive frames,” crafted by guests during the holiday season, with regular updates fostering continued guest involvement in conservation endeavors. Annual monitoring of benthic habitats and species abundance by the Marine Biologist team is pivotal, collecting data to track changes in habitats and biodiversity over time. This scientific endeavor provides valuable insights into the health of Hurawalhi’s marine life and serves as a cornerstone for future conservation efforts.
The data collected holds immense potential, serving as a catalyst for initiatives aimed at securing protected status for Hurawalhi and its surrounding waters. Through collaboration with government-led conservation programs and local stakeholders, the resort aspires to designate Hurawalhi as a protected area, ensuring its continued vitality and resilience.
In the face of unprecedented challenges to ocean conservation, Hurawalhi remains resolute in its mission to preserve and protect the marine marvels of the Maldives. Through collective understanding and concerted action, the resort endeavors to safeguard these invaluable ecosystems for generations to come.
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