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Maldives crowned world’s leading destination for third year running

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In a moment of triumph for the nation, the Maldives has successfully secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination for the third year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2022. Announced at an event held late Friday evening, the Maldives received several awards including the most prestigious title in the global tourism industry for the third year running.

The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (CEO & MD of MMPRC / Visit Maldives), Thoyyib Mohammed, and the Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, Dr Abdulla Mausoom, accepted the award on behalf of the nation at the awards ceremony held at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Oman.

The Maldives beat out 18 other countries for this title: Dubai, Portugal, Indonesia, and Greece among them.

In addition to this prestigious title for the Maldives, MMPRC attained the title of the World’s Leading Tourist Board this year – the first time that the Maldives has secured this award. Some of the largest tourist boards in the world with extensive reach and budget were nominated for this award. MMPRC won this award competing with 28 other prominent tourism boards including Incredible India, Tourism Australia, and Visit England.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the popularity and vibrancy of the Maldives as a tourist destination. The industry’s achievements throughout the past three years reflect the resilience of the Maldives tourism industry amidst any crisis – and that united, we can achieve anything,” Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom stated, speaking at the ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, CEO & MD Thoyyib stated: “It is truly an honour to win the prestigious title of World’s Leading Destination for the third year in a row. This year is our Golden Jubilee of Tourism in the Maldives, and I couldn’t have asked for a better achievement to mark 50 years of welcoming visitors to our shores. This award is thanks to the guidance of our government, the support of our partners, and the hard work of the tourism industry as a whole. And of course, our visitors- we are blessed that people from around the world love the Maldives so much. This is also the first year that MMPRC, also known as Visit Maldives, secured the title of the World’s Leading Tourist Board. It feels like an affirmation of the hard work of our team over these past few years, pushing through the toughest global crises of recent times. Thank you to everyone for voting for the Maldives, and I hope to welcome you soon to the Sunny Side of Life.”

Tourism pioneer and celebrated local entrepreneur, Hussein Afeef, also commented on the success achieved by the Maldives at this year’s World Travel Awards. He stated that he considers it a blessing that our entire tourism industry, the cornerstone of our economy, has come together for the betterment of the country. He congratulated all tourism industry stakeholders, organisations, and every citizen of our nation for this outstanding success. Mr Afeef added that MMPRC’s efforts to raise the Maldives to new and radiant heights are appreciated by people around the world, congratulating the organisation, our board members, and employees for securing the World’s Leading Tourist Board title this year.

The Maldives first secured the title of the World’s Leading Destination in 2020, in the midst of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nations struggled as world borders closed and international travel ground to a halt. It was the same in the Maldives as well, at least for a few months, as the travel and tourism industry was disrupted as it had never been before, and the future looked grim.

That was until we decided to switch the online platforms and continued marketing the Maldives, advising people around the world to dream of us now, and Visit Maldives later. The government’s efforts and plans for the reopening of our borders were drafted with the contribution of the entire industry, emphasising the unique geographical formation of the Maldivian islands as the key USP of the one-island-one-resort concept. These characteristics make the Maldives one of the safest destinations for visitors even amidst the pandemic. The rest of the world was constantly being made aware of the stringent safety measures and procedures in place for tourists. The Maldives reopened its borders for international travel on July 15, 2020, while most other countries were still struggling with stunted travel options. More importantly, the country reopened its borders with extensive safety guidelines and measures in place so that every traveller could visit the Maldives with peace of mind.

As for MMPRC, we carried out over 412 different marketing activities in 22 global markets, partnering with our international PR agencies to ensure that every visitor in every market still continued to see the beautiful sights of the Maldives despite global border closures. A total of 314 activities were carried out during this pandemic as part of the crisis recovery plan; some of these include fairs (online as well as offline), webinars, FAM trips, online roadshows, outdoor campaigns, digital media campaigns and more.

Securing the title of World’s Leading Destination in 2020 was a remarkable testament to the hard work of the Maldives tourism industry. Every relevant government agency, organisation, and stakeholder in the industry came together and made continuous contributions to revive and restore tourism in the Maldives. In 2020 Maldives competed against 22 other destinations including Dubai, Malaysia, Spain, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka to win the title.

By the time 2021 rolled in, more and more countries around the world began to reopen their borders for international travel. While this meant that more travellers could start visiting us again, it also meant more competitors were reemerging for the Maldives. The tourism industry itself evolved as hybrid activities became the norm, and the number of visitors looking up information online about our nation skyrocketed and the Maldives officially became the most googled destination in the world. The one-island-one-resort concept, distinct geographical features, and constant promotion continued to give the Maldives an added advantage over other destinations.

MMPRC decided to take this opportunity to tap into an under-utilised market segment of tourism, the MICE travel segment, as travellers around the world began to experience the inevitable ‘zoom blues’. The ‘Redefining MICE’ campaign was a great success and prompted even more travellers to see the Maldives truly as a destination with something for everyone. Several marketing activities and campaigns were carried out in 2021, providing a platform for tourists from around the world to relive their happy memories and rediscover the wonders of Maldives. MMPRC carried out 209 different marketing activities in 24 global markets in 2021. These include 109 marketing campaigns, 60 fairs and virtual events, 10 roadshows and 30 familiarisation trips. With interviews and other participation, over 400 activities were conducted in 2021.

Winning this title for the second year in a row in 2021 proved that the hard work of the Maldives tourism industry was appreciated by visitors and organisations from around the world. The Maldives won the top title competing against 18 other destinations including the biggest names in global tourism such as Dubai, Indonesia, Spain, Vietnam, USA and Greece.

MMPRC conducted a total of 149 activities in 22 global markets over the first three quarters of 2022, targeting the travel trade and consumers alike, with a reach of over 8.6 billion. One of the key focuses of our strategies was to maintain brand visibility in the global markets. Apart from promoting the Maldives as a premier luxury destination with various affordable options and diverse experiences, the messaging was clearly communicated to build confidence in the destination. MMPRC augmented this with the Tourism Golden Jubilee messaging, to veer visitors towards the celebratory mood in the Maldives tourism industry this year, to great success.

Winning this award a third year in a row, especially during our Golden Jubilee Year of Tourism, has not only fortified the Maldives’ place as a tourism hotspot but also as a leader in the global travel trade.

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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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