China market will spike with more resorts, lower prices: Ambassador

Chinese tourists pictured at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Chinese tourists pictured at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The number of Chinese tourists to the Maldives will increase with the opening of more resorts and subsequent reduction in prices, declared Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Fukang on Wednesday.

China, which had dominated the Maldives’ tourism market over the past five years and maintained its progress, had drastically fallen over the past year.

Acknowledging the issue, Ambassador Fukang told reporters during his address to mark the New Year that the number of Chinese tourists to various countries had hit the 100 million mark last year, with five million that visited Japan, 9.8 million to South Korea and 700,000 visitors to Indonesia’s Bali.

Taking Bali as an example, the Ambassador noted that the number of tourists from China to Bali are rapidly increasing over the relatively lower prices of Bali compared to the Maldives. He assured that Chinese tourists to top luxury tourist destinations such as the Maldives will incline again as the Asian giant’s economy and public income increase.

He also noted that with the opening of various new resorts in the archipelago, the prices will go down as competition and rivalry heighten in the market, thus luring more visitors in the future.

The Maldives had unveiled ten new resorts in 2016 with twenty more to be opened this year. In addition, the government has put up for bid a number of other islands for tourism while development is already underway for several leased islands.

Many Chinese companies are also investing in the Maldives’ tourism sector. While three firms are already developing new resorts in the archipelago, the government has recently sold the popular uninhabited island of Feydhoo Finolhu in Kaafu atoll to an undisclosed Chinese company.

However, the latest statistics of the Ministry of Tourism show that the number of tourists hailing from China had dropped from 30,714 in October 2015 to 29,444 in October 2016, which is a decrease of 4.1 percent. China’s share of the Maldives’ tourism market had also nosedived to 25.1 percent.

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