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Maldives, Thomas Cook India ink strategic pact to enhance destination visibility

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In a focussed initiative to give fillip to travel to the Maldives, Thomas Cook India, India’s leading integrated travel services company has signed a strategic agreement with the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (Visit Maldives) to enhance visibility and visits to the destination.

Given positive consumer sentiment due to announcements on the vaccine and significant lockdown fatigue, Thomas Cook India’s Holiday Readiness Report (December 2020) reveals that international destinations are seeing a marked upward demand trajectory with 48 per cent of respondents keen to take an international holiday in 2021. Consumer interest in short haul destinations, including the Maldives, is significant at 50 per cent.

With Maldives having reopened its borders in July, Thomas Cook India has witnessed an encouraging increase in demand/interest. To catalyse this demand, its strategic agreement with Visit Maldives intends to create high visibility and steer India’s demand potential towards Maldives.

“We are delighted to partner with the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation to jointly promote Maldives as destination of choice for our range of Indian traveller segments — including millennials, young working professionals, ad-hoc groups of friends and families,” Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said.

“The Maldives has been an aspirational destination for Indians and our strategic intent will focus on highlighting the benefits/USPs of easy access and a free visa-on-arrival process, coupled with its eclectic vibe, stunning natural vistas and exclusive resorts to steer consideration towards Maldives and drive demand.”

Maldives holds special appeal for Indians: from its pristine blue waters, stunning panoramic vistas, exotic marine life and exciting-fun water sports to its exclusive island resort stays with unique water bungalows/ocean villas.

It is also a preferred destination for the celebration of special occasions, weddings and honeymoons as well.

Thomas Cook India intends to extend its marcom to its wide range of viable consumer segments across Leisure, B-Leisure and Corporate MICE spanning India’s metros as well as Tier Two and Three source markets.

Thomas Cook India and Visit Maldives strategic agreement will deepen the relationship between both parties, and leverage this to spotlight Maldives as a preferred destination that promises a relaxing holiday with a diversity of exciting experiences.

The partnership will also ensure a reiteration of safety and hygiene – a key aspect to build consumer confidence in travel in the Covid era.

“We have selected Thomas Cook India – India’s leading and highly respected tour operator – to commence our activation in the high potential Indian market. Currently, India ranks second among the key arrival markets to Maldives. We expect that this partnership will increase arrivals from a range of Indian traveller segments,” Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Visit Maldives, said.

“We would like to highlight that Maldives is not just a honeymoon destination, it offers a variety of experiences for a diverse range of travellers. We are definitely delighted to commence this collaboration and hope that our efforts in marketing Maldives, and improving the relationship between the two parties, will be successful.”

Assured insured secured programme

To ensure health and safety of customers, Thomas Cook India has put together a holistic three pronged customer confidence-building programme in the form of the Assured Insured-Secured that covers every aspect of physical safety as well as mental and financial security to give the customer complete peace of mind.

The company has launched several meaningful initiatives: Doctor on Call 24×7 service in partnership with Apollo Clinics; India’s first Safe Holiday Helpline, a free service offering expert guidance & assistance for safe holiday planning, visa assistance, country specific updates, on-ground health and safety measures, health certification, etc. and seamless Covid-negative certification services via a tie up with ICMR accredited labs.

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Maldives celebrates arrival of 2024’s 1 millionth tourist

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Maldives on Thursday welcomed the one millionth tourist to visit this year.

The one millionth tourist is a Thai named Sutapa Amonwivat, who arrived from Singapore with her husband and two children. This is her second visit to Maldives.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) and the Ministry of Tourism gave a warm welcome to Sutapa at the Velana International Airport (VIA) Thursday afternoon. She was welcomed at the VIA by tourism minister Ibrahim Faisal, MMPRC Managing Director Ibrahim Shiury and senior officials of various relevant agencies.

After welcoming her with traditional offerings, she was presented with various gifts by the ministry, MMPRC, customs, immigration, Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

Maldives reached one million tourists in June, three weeks earlier than last year. The number of tourists reached one million on July 16, 2023.

Maldives expects to reach 2 million tourists this year.

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New air route connects Chongqing to Maldives

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Chongqing Airlines on Monday began its inaugural flights to Maldives.

The Chongqing-Male route, scheduled three times a week, is expected to strengthen the bonds between China and the Maldives, opening up exciting new opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange.

The inaugural flight was welcomed upon its arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives, where local officials and tourism representatives expressed their enthusiasm for this new development.

“We warmly welcome our friends from China to our beautiful islands. This new connection strengthens our bonds and opens up new opportunities for tourism,” the tourism ministry said on X.

Maldives currently welcomes four airlines from China, including China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

In January, Maldives government urged tourism stakeholders in both Maldives and China to ramp up efforts to restore China’s position as the primary source market for Maldives tourism, a status held before the onset of Covid-19.

China, being the largest source market for Maldives tourism before the pandemic, saw a resumption of tourist arrivals from January 2023 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. In 2023, the Maldives welcomed 187,118 Chinese tourists, marking a significant recovery in numbers. This year, the Maldives has welcomed the most number of tourists from China, with over 107,940 or 11.5 percent of total arrivals by June 12. 

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CROSSROADS Maldives Introduces Weixin Pay at resorts for seamless guest experience

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CROSSROADS Maldives has introduced WeChat Pay, widely known as Weixin Pay in China, across its world-class resorts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. This payment option is made available to enhance the convenience and overall experience for guests from China, making their stay in the Maldives more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Understanding the needs of the diverse guests, CROSSROADS Maldives has integrated WeChat Pay into operations, allowing guests from China to easily and securely conduct transactions using a payment method familiar to them. The introduction of WeChat Pay is a testament to CROSSROADS Maldives’ dedication to enhancing guest satisfaction by offering exceptional experiences at every turn. What is also expected through this initiative is that the guests could benefit from better foreign exchange rates, translating to better savings on their expenditures during their stay.

The option is available for guests in-house conveniently at both resorts as well as across the Marina at CROSSROADS Maldives where a wider variety of unparalleled dining and retail experiences are available for all guests. The day visitors from China will also therefore equally benefit from this new introduction at the Maldives’ premier multi-island integrated leisure destination.

SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton, is a vibrant tropical escape that offers unique and locally inspired experiences. The resort features spacious rooms and villas, a variety of dining options, and an array of recreational activities designed to cater to the desires of modern travellers. Guests can escape to the island’s SAiisational natural beauty, enjoy water sports, and indulge in spa treatments, all while relishing the personalised service that defines Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Hard Rock Hotel Maldives brings the iconic Hard Rock spirit to the tranquil shores of the Maldives. This family-friendly resort offers a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment, featuring music-inspired experiences, live performances, and the brand’s signature amenities. With luxurious accommodations, diverse dining options, and a plethora of activities for all ages, Hard Rock Hotel Maldives ensures an unforgettable holiday experience for every guest.

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