5 Year Record for Tourist Arrivals in January
Despite the recent economic crisis, the Maldives tourist industry is going strong!
The Maldives President’s Office has reported that 67,478 tourists arrived in the Maldives during January 2010, making it the country’s strongest January in five years.
Moosa Zameer, Head of Planning and Statistics for the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, said that January 2o1o was “the best [January] we have ever had.”
Tourists Arrive in the Maldives on Cruise Ships
Sim Mohamed from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), added that many of these tourists are “surface arrivals,” such as passengers on a cruise ship who arrive for a day or two.
Sim Mohamed noted that a number of services have begun bringing tourists regularly from India and Sri Lanka.
Under normal circumstances, most tourists coming to the Maldives are at “the high end of the market – those who have the disposable income to go wherever they want to go,” he says.
Airlines and Resorts Have Cut Rates
However, in light of the recent economic crisis, many resorts and airlines have reduced their rates significantly, he explained, with some resorts cutting their rates up to 30-50 percent. More airlines opening their routes to the Maldives also means more competitive air fares. Get more information about flights to the Maldives here, like flights from Germany to the Maldives!
Because resorts are operating at lower rates, “there isn’t a significant rise in financial activity in Malé or even in other islands,” Sim said, but “it’s still a win for the government since they get bed rent.”
Zameer believes that the rise in tourist arrivals is not only accredited to cheaper rates at resorts, but to all the “work in promotions carried out after the [economic] crisis at the end of 2008.” He believes both the private sector and the ministry have put a lot of work into promoting the Maldives as a tourist destination, even for those who are more budget conscious.
Shift in the Tourism Market in the Maldives
Traditionally, the key markets for tourism in Maldives have been the UK, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, China and Switzerland, according to MATI. But this trend has already seen a change this year.
Zameer says there has been a “shift in the market,” as European seasonal tourist numbers are dropping and the Chinese and Indian markets are emerging. Kuwaitis have also helped the market “enormously,” he says.
Zameer believes people are starting to realise this is the right time to travel, and they can “go to the destination they have been waiting to go to.”
Sim agrees “there has been a big rise in tourists coming from India. There is also a very sharp rise in Chinese arrivals after Chinese New Year, and there will be another one towards Easter, mostly Italians.”
He added that MATI is “feeling good vibes” from the market, especially from Germany and the UK.