Known for its pristine beaches, luxury resorts, and thrilling water sports, the Maldives is one of the most preferred international destinations by Indians. In both 2020 & 2021, India has emerged as the top source market for Maldives. This year, from from 1st January 2021 to 13th October 2021, a total of 923,146 tourists arrived in the Maldives. India led the list of the top five markets during this period followed by Russia, Germany, U.S.A and Saudi Arabia. A total of 211,062 Indians have visited Maldives this year by October 2021 contributing 23% of the total tourist arrivals in the Maldives. India topped the list in 2020 as well with 62,960 tourist arrivals which was 11.3% of the total. In an exclusive conversation with the TheSpuzz Online Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director, Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation (MMPRC) talked about the success of tourism in Maldives, its revival post-pandemic and more. Excerpts:
What do you have to say about India again emerging as the top source market for the Maldives?
I can say that I am delighted to see that India is once again emerging as the top source market to the Maldives after falling behind Russia for a brief period earlier this year. As of 5th October 2021, we have welcomed a total of 890,363 travelers of which 204,530 travelers were from the Indian market.
What are the steps taken by Maldives to boost travelers’ confidence to visit the island nation?
We are marketing and maintaining our destination presence in all of our key markets across the globe. During this time, the most crucial concern that is on top of everyone’s mind is safety, security, and peace of mind. And this is one of the key aspects people consider when they decide to travel to a certain destination.
We have taken all the necessary steps and beyond to ensure that Maldives is a haven of peace, serenity, isolation, and safety. You see, the unique geography of the Maldives ensures that all of our islands are naturally social-distance from each other, thus creating an unparalleled level of safety and comfort.
Our one-island-one-resort concept ensures that each resort functions under stringent measures to prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of all travelers. Our safety element is one of the most crucial points we use in our marketing efforts.
What are the different kinds of experiences that the Maldives has to offer?
The Maldives offer a slice of paradise for everyone. First and foremost, we are known across the globe as a luxury honeymoon destination. However, the Maldives is a destination with much to offer. Almost all travelers are aware of the world-class luxurious resorts, but our guesthouses, liveaboards, and hotels are often overlooked.
We are the perfect destination for thrilling adventurers, budget travelers, watersports enthusiasts, luxury travelers, honeymooners, families, Muslim travelers, and so on. Recently, we even took our first steps into positioning Maldives as the ideal destination for MICE.
If you want specifics, the list is endless. Private over-water villas? Check. A bubble-tent nestled in seclusion on the beach? Check. Parasailing above the scattered islands? Check. Indulging in gourmet cuisines in an underwater restaurant? Check. We’ve really got it all.
Is the Maldives witnessing any change in the type/ profile of travelers that are visiting the country?
Travelers are becoming much more conscious of the carbon footprint of traveling. We are observing a trend in which travelers want more than just the normal services offered before in tourist establishments, travelers now want experiences.
Travelers want to make a difference and delve deep into the lifestyle and culture of destinations they are traveling to. In the Maldives, travelers have the opportunity to play an active part in the innovative environmental initiatives undertaken in tourist establishments. Furthermore, travelers have the chance to immerse themselves in Maldivian culture and lifestyle by staying in a guesthouse.
Travel pics of Maldives have flooded the social media. Influencers, bloggers and celebs, all are heading to Maldives. Is this a part of your strategy (to use SM through celebs)? Please shed some light on this.
There are two elements at play here. Indeed, we at Visit Maldives have invited several celebrities, influencers, travel journalists, PR, and media to our white sandy shores and crystalline waters. However, there are thousands upon thousands of travelers from India traveling to the Maldives each day. It is only natural that these travelers will want to capture the breathtaking allure and beauty of our islands, and so social media is flooded with these pictures.
We are definitely collaborating with several outlets in social media to promote Maldives and maintain destination presence. During the pandemic, we learned that one of the best ways we can market our destination is through digital and social media. We are exploring how else we can use social media and digital media in creative ways to market the Maldives.
What COVID safety norms and protocols Maldives tourism is following?
We have enacted COVID safety norms and protocols in order to ensure safety of all tourists and staff. As of now, the Maldives is open to all nationalities and travelers are granted a free 30-day visa on-arrival as long as they have a registered booking with a tourist establishment.
It is a mandatory requirement for all tourists to present a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for Covid-19 on arrival. The sample for the said test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to Maldives. However, infants aged less than one-year-old are exempted from the aforementioned testing requirement.
During April 2021, Visit Maldives in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism launched the “I’m Vaccinated” campaign in order to share a positive message regarding the vaccination of staff working in the tourism sector as well as promoting the initiatives undertaken to ensure the Maldives remains one of the safest destinations in the world for travelers. Our goal is to make Maldives a destination with the first 100% fully vaccinated tourist industry in the world. As of now, 93% of the staff are fully vaccinated.