Maldives tourist season kicks off with 16 percent spike in arrivals

Tourists at a resort. FILE PHOTO/EVOLVE

Tourists at a resort. FILE PHOTO/EVOLVE

The Maldives’ tourist season is off to a good start with a 16 percent spike in tourist arrivals during its first month.

The peak tourism season in the Maldives is the duration of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, usually between November and April. Resort occupancy rates usually skyrocket during these months as tourists spend Christmas and New Year vacations in the archipelago.

According to the statistics of November 2016 released by the Ministry of Tourism on Monday, the Maldives had received 104,572 tourists that month which is an increase of 15.9 percent from the 90,218 tourist arrivals recorded in 2015.

The total number of visitors to the nation by the end of November in 2016 was 1.17 million. The record is 4.6 percent higher than the previous year which stood at 1.1 million tourists in the same period.

The highest number of tourists hailed from the Maldives’ largest tourism market of China. However, with the Chinese market on a steady decline all last year, the numbers had dropped by 4.5 percent to 18,954 visitors. The total number of Chinese tourists to the archipelago in 2016 by November end had also dropped from 343,359 to 308,077, a decrease of 10.2 percent.

However, tourist arrivals from South Asia had greatly increased last November with 6,895 visitors hailing from India, which is currently the fastest progressing market of the region. This record is 42 percent higher than the 4,857 visitors recorded in 2015. The total number of Indian tourists to the Maldives in 2016 by the end of November had also increased by 28.1 percent from 44,705 to 57,264.

There was another spike recorded in the European market, which has been steadily recovering after a long slump of several years. Statistics show that tourists hailing from the longstanding market of the United Kingdom increased from 7,001 to 8,071 in November, which is an increase of 15.3 percent. The UK is followed by the Italian market, which had gone up by 12.6 percent from 4,429 visitors in November 2015 to 4,987 tourists last November. Tourist arrivals from Germany had also gone up with 10,759 visitors, an increase of 11.1 percent from the previous year’s 9,682.

Meanwhile, the Maldives government had earlier revised its estimate of 1.5 million tourists visiting the archipelago by the end of 2016 to 1.4 million, the same as 2015, mainly due to the staggering recession of the Chinese market.

As the ministry has yet to release the statistics of December, it remains unclear whether the tourism sector was able to achieve the target. However, officials of the industry are claiming that tourism in the island nation is now recovering from last year’s lull while the Maldives’ main airport had also received a record number of private jets during the New Year.

The ministry and Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) have assured that several activities have been planned to up the Maldives’ tourism sector and tourist arrivals this year. The promotional activities include taking part in a number of trade fairs, hosting an international tourism fair in the Maldives, and amending the nation’s tourism promotion policy to a data and researched based one.

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