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Visit Maldives welcomes renowned British freelance journalist

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Visit Maldives has welcomed Lisa Kjellsson, a renowned freelance journalist from the United Kingdom, to promote the Maldives in the UK market.

This is the second of many familiarisation trips planned for the year and the first carried out for the UK market.

The purpose of this fam trip is to promote the islands as one of the safest destinations to travel to during the current situation and showcase the unique experiences in the Maldives with a specific focus on safety, luxury and eco-initiatives.

The trip will also highlight the stringent safety measures undertaken in the Maldives in relation to Covid-19 to ensure the Maldives remains a safe haven for British traveller’s due to the unique geographical formation of the islands.

Lisa, who arrived in the Maldives on February 2, contributes to high profile travel and lifestyle publications such as Sleeper, Tatler, West London Living, Citizen Femme and Robb Report, targeting an affluent audience in the UK.

The published features will generate major coverage highlighting the Maldives as a safe destination alongside aspects that are unique to the host properties.

The combined coverage generated from this fam trip is expected to reach nearly a million readers. The articles generated from the trip will also aid in strengthening the Maldives brand in among British travellers, so that it will be a go-to market.

During the two-week-long trip, Lisa will be hosted by Kuramathi Island Resort, The Nautilus Maldives, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Hurawalhi Maldives, Kagi Maldives Spa Island and Six Senses Laamu, where she will experience spa and wellness activities, sustainable initiatives including coral regeneration and other marine conservation efforts, snorkelling and other watersports, tasting signature cuisines and other experiences unique to the respective properties, such as underwater dining.

The UK market has been a traditionally important market in terms of arrivals to the Maldives.

Visit Maldives focuses on innovative strategies and ultimate objectives, adopted to ensure the goals of achieving pre-pandemic arrival numbers in this year.

Several marketing activities have already been planned for 2021 including joint promotions with notable tour operators and prominent airlines, participation in key travel trade fairs and roadshows covering the UK & Ireland region.

Focused digital, social media and virtual activities are in the pipeline, aiming to maintain the destination presence and promote Maldives as the most preferred destination within the market.

In 2020, 52,520 tourists visited the Maldives from the UK. Though it was 58.2 per cent drop compared to 2019, the UK was ranked as the third highest arrival market despite an ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions.

Core markets from the region were among the leading arrivals to the Maldives post lockdown and continue to grow stronger day by day.

As the Maldives achieved the remarkable milestone of receiving 500,000 tourists amid an ongoing pandemic in 2020, the goal of reaching pre-pandemic arrival numbers from the UK shows consistent potential.

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Weixin Pay supported to boost Chinese tourists to Maldives

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On May 27, Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives), and Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay’s Country Manager, Singapore and Regional Director, Southeast Asia, WeChat Pay, signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during ITB China 2024, pledging to support more Maldivian merchants to accept WeixinPay to provide Chinese tourists with a convenient payment experience. Visit Maldives is the Official Destination Partner for this year’s edition of ITB China.

“China is a key source of tourists for the Maldives, and we greatly value the experience of Chinese visitors,” said DMD Zihuny Rasheed. “We plan on promoting the acceptance of Weixin Pay throughout the country, offering Chinese tourists the payment option they are familiar with and prefer. I have used Weixin Pay during my visit to China via linking an international card, and I can attest to the convenience of the mobile payment option.”

Ibrahim Faisal, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, expressed his support, “Excited that we’re introducing Weixin Pay for Chinese visitors, which is another step in establishing Maldives as their top destination. Now, it’s easier than ever for Chinese travellers to enjoy their stay, hassle-free. We look forward to further enhancing their experience,” he wrote.

According to Etienne Ng, Weixin Pay is currently being piloted at the country’s airport duty-free store, as well as in popular restaurants like Sala Thai and City Garden. Additionally, a range of hotels and resorts are participating including, JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La, Adaaran Select HudhuranFushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Velaa Private Island, Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island, Dhawa Ihuru Maldives, Ayada Maldives, Marriott Bonvoy, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Angsana Velavaru in Maldives with strong support from the Bank of Maldives and local merchants. Making smooth progress, the initiative is expected to have 8,000 merchants nationwide that integrate the payment option.

“Weixin Pay is committed to providing users with safe and convenient payment services. Since the visa exemption policy was implemented, more and more Weixin Pay users have chosen to travel to the island country. Through our cooperation with Visit Maldives, we aim to provide Chinese users with the same convenient experience in the travel as they experience at home,” he said.

In February 2023, an Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements signed between the Maldives and China took effect as China expands its visa-free policy to benefit more countries. Consequently, the Maldives has consistently ranked among the top overseas destinations for Chinese tourists during popular travel periods such as the May Day and National Day holidays.

According to data from Visit Maldives, the country welcomed over 1.8 million tourists in 2023, a new national record. The Chinese market has been a key source market for the Maldives. As of 11th May 2024, it is the number one source market with 91,073 tourist arrivals.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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130 hotels in The Prestige Collection with 4 Maldives properties

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The Prestige Collection has reached 130 hotels in its portfolio, continuing to uphold quality and excellence as core pillars. It represents the most exclusive selection within Keytel, the world’s first alliance of independent hotels.

Since its establishment in 2007, The Prestige Collection has been dedicated to meeting the growing demand for luxury hotels, becoming a reference for hospitality industry specialists. Despite its focus on independent hotels, the collection has successfully attracted prestigious properties from international luxury chains such as Rosewood Villa Magna, Mandarín Oriental Ritz Madrid, and Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. These hotels view The Prestige Collection as a complement to their commercial strategy for attracting luxury clientele.

With a prominent presence both nationally and internationally across 36 countries, The Prestige Collection shines in with four distinguished resorts: Baglioni Resort Maldives, Diamonds Athuruga Maldives Resort & Spa, Diamonds Thudufushi Maldives Resort & Spa, and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Internationally, the collection boasts emblematic properties like Armani Dubai, Café Royal in London, The Pierre in New York, and Kappa Senses in Ubud, Bali, among others.

The collection categorises hotels into four distinctive categories, highlighting ideal places to disconnect, properties in vibrant urban settings, coastal options for those seeking serenity, and unique experiences for those seeking singularity.

Furthermore, this milestone coincides with the relaunch of its new experiential website platform. This platform offers users and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the collection in greater detail and drives qualified traffic to the official websites of member hotels.

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