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Maldives Media Meet held at WTM London to share 50-year tourism journey

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/Visit Maldives) has shared the 50-year journey, milestones, and achievements of the Maldivian tourism industry with global media representatives during the ‘Maldives Media Meet’ hosted at WTM London 2022. This event was held at the ExCel London media centre on 8th November 2022. 

The Maldives Media Meet was led by the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of MMPRC, Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, joined by; Maldives Tourism Industry Pioneer, Mr Hussain Afeef; the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Ireland, H.E Dr Farah Faizal; and the Minister of Tourism of Maldives, H.E Dr Abdulla Mausoom. Attendants at the event consisted of representatives from the travel trade, media, and tourism-related organisations. 

Attendees to the event were gifted a Maldivian Feyli (traditional sarong) upon arrival; a token of the Maldives’ culture and hospitality. An immersive storytelling session signifying the communal spirit and the unyielding hospitality inherent to the Maldives was presented to the attendants, from the “Communal Spirit” folklore story from Visit Maldives’ Tales of Maldives books. This riveting experience denoting that hospitality is one of the main reasons behind the success of the Maldives tourism industry.  This was followed by a destination presentation, and then the opening statements by the panellists.

The spotlight of the media meet was on the success of the Maldives Tourism industry over the past 50 years and the evolution of destination marketing efforts by MMPRC, as we mark the Golden Jubilee year since the inception of tourism in the country.

The opening remarks were made by Mr Hussain Afeef, one of the pioneers responsible for the introduction of Maldives tourism. He spoke at length, giving the attendants an industry perspective on the inception of tourism in the Maldives, and the key differences between then and now.

“We took the first groups of tourists on excursions on sailboats. We had no telephones or fax machines, so we communicated via morse code. We had two flights a year coming into the country, bringing in a small group of tourists, that was our connection to the outside world. We had to play many roles, we wore many hats, we had to be tour guides, chefs, and everything in between for the tourists. It was a hard journey, but look how far we have come today,” he said.

The Minister of Tourism spoke next, detailing the importance of sustainable tourism to an island nation such as the Maldives.

“Maldives believes Tourists of the Future are fast becoming the present, and expects destinations and service providers to be meaningfully committed to Sustainable Tourism Practices,” the minister highlighted in his statement. 

Next on the agenda, the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Ireland, H.E Dr Farah Faizal expounded on the long-standing bilateral ties between the Maldives and the UK, expressing her pride at how far the Maldives has come as a tourism destination.

“As a diplomat, I am proud that the Maldives has established a global presence in the tourism sector, becoming a recognised brand worldwide. This has undoubtedly supported the strengthening of international relations on all fronts. Our holistic response to the pandemic has resulted in the tourism industry rebounding back to pre-pandemic levels. I am certain that this year’s WTM will showcase the outstanding degree of service our industry has to offer,” she said.

CEO & MD Mr Thoyyib gave a brief overview on the evolution of destination marketing through the past five decades.

“We may have begun marketing the destination by participating in a fair, but then we continued to market the destination, establish presence, in all platforms, utilising every type of tool that was at our disposal. No matter the target we reach, in the form of infrastructure development in the sector or arrivals, our work is never ending. And that’s what made us the leading destination in 2020 and 2021, and that is why we are amongst the nominees for 2022 leading destination as well. Perseverance, dedication, and relentless efforts in making sure we are always visible and on the top,” he said.

The purpose of hosting this event was to connect with leading media representatives from the UK, one of our traditional top markets, as well as representatives from other global markets. MMPRC provided them with the most up-to-date information about the destination, its products, services, and unique experiences.

Through this event, MMPRC promoted the Maldives as one of the most preferred holiday destinations for travellers from the UK and worldwide. MMPRC further promoted our future plans, sustainability initiatives, and marketing efforts for the coming year. MMPRC launched a special large-scale event to be hosted next year, the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023 at the Maldives Media Meet. The conference ended with a Q&A session, and one lucky attendee to the event won a complete set of the ‘Tales of Maldives’ books.

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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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