Sunny beaches, clear blue skies and numerous marine therapies have won over tourists from all over the world to the Maldives.

So it’s no surprise that it was one of the first countries to open its borders to tourists after the Covid-19 epidemic that brought the world to its knees last year.

Since the Maldives literally offers secluded hideaways with the most alluring attractions under the sun and the sea, it has become a prime destination for luxury travel.

The Maldives have attracted crowds of famous guests from neighboring India, as well as high profile visitors from all over the world. New and exclusive properties adding to the country’s famous one-island-one-resort philosophy, spread across the length and breadth of the island nation, have responded to this growing demand.

Opened in November last year, one of the last in Crown & Champa Resorts (CCR) portfolio, Kagi Maldives Spa Island. Located in North Male Atoll, this island resort is small but comfortable. At the heart of the property is a round structure that houses an overwater spa. The resort has 10 beach pool villas spread across its approximately 700 m² beach area, as well as 19 lagoon villas and 21 ocean villas. Dining options include Noo Faru Restaurant, Ufaa Bar and Ke-Un which offers Pacific Rim fusion cuisine, adding the flavors of Maldivian dishes. The resort is also currently developing its own herb garden. Needless to say, water activities are available here, allowing guests to explore underwater wildlife.

Hurawalhi, another chic island resort in the CCR portfolio, offers guests the opportunity to explore underwater marine life in a unique and exclusive way with their underwater dining option – 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. Considered the largest all-glass underwater restaurant in the world, patrons enjoy the chance to dine in the company of colorful schools of swimming fish. The restaurant is named after the depth at which the place is located, 5.8 meters below the surface of the lagoon.

Accommodation on Hurawalhi Island is spread over 90 villas, including Ocean Pool Villas and Beach Pool Villas, while Duniye Spa is the resort’s luxurious spa offering.

The resort offers luxury private boating in addition to its many water sports and recreational activities, including guided diving and snorkelling trips. “The Hurawalhi Island Resort, a naturally chic, adults-only environment, welcomes CCG travelers. Our personalized service, range of dining options and our section of overwater and beach villas will ensure you have a memorable stay, ”said Bradley Caesar, Managing Director.

While traditionally seen as a honeymooner’s paradise, the island nation is now opening up to a more diverse audience, including families.

“For destinations within five hours of GCC countries, travel for leisure tourism has increased steadily, particularly to the Maldives, and we hope to see sustained market interest. Attracted by its coral reefs, pristine beaches and boasting one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, the Maldives has also proven to be one of the safest destinations to visit today. The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort is ideally placed to meet this interest. Located on Baa Atoll, next to the UNESCO Hanifaru Bay Biosphere Reserve, the resort also draws on its wellness DNA to enable guests to adopt a healthy lifestyle. , stay in shape and disconnect from their daily routine, leaving them invigorated and refreshed, ”said Brendan Corcoran. , General Manager, The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort.

With a large outdoor recreation area, tennis court and space for other sports as well as a beachside swimming pool, the Westin Kids Club is available for children ages 4 to 12, with activities and special programs supervised daily. Babysitting services are also available on request. While the kids stay busy, parents have an array of wellness and relaxation options to explore, such as the Westin Overwater Heavenly Spa, the WestinWorkout Fitness Studio, or premium sport on the multi-purpose recreation grounds. of the hotel.

Enjoying a beachfront location, the resort’s 41 beach villas with private pools overlook the Indian Ocean. The private terrace and plunge pool also provide additional space for families with young children to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Plus, families can hand-line fish or even get up close to manta rays through guided tours.

The resort also offers a special Westin Eat Well menu for kids with healthy options at its The Pearl, Island Kitchen, and Hawker outlets.

Visitors also have the chance to learn about reef manta rays. The Maldives is home to the world’s largest known population of reef manta rays, and resort guests can take workshops and trips to learn all about them.

Since opening its doors on July 15, 2020, after receiving the “Safe Travel Stamp” from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the country has shown an impressive economic rebound, accelerated by a thriving tourism sector . According to the United Nations Development Program, tourism contributes directly to 26 percent of the Maldives’ GDP and 70 percent indirectly.

The archipelago-nation recorded 555,000 visitors that same year, while already welcoming more than a million visitors this year, at the end of October. Velana International Airport welcomed its millionth visitor of 2021 on October 29, who flew with Emirates and arrived from France. The country also registered more than 140,000 tourists just in October, making it clear that a nation has shown impressive results in rebuilding tourism after a global pandemic.

The tourism ministry has set a target of 1.5 million by the end of 2021, as the peak season for visiting the Maldives has started and is expected to continue until April next year. Most of the visitors that made up this number were those from India and Russia.

Visitors to the United Arab Emirates are not far behind. Official figures reported that more than 11,000 tourists from the United Arab Emirates have visited the Maldives so far this year. Maldives tourism minister Dr Abdullah Maassoum has reportedly said the country intends to increase that figure to 30,000 next year. According to an interview with the UAE News Agency (WAM), he spoke about the tourism expansion plans that will be announced during Expo 2020 Dubai, such as the development of new islands for tourist communities.

Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) CEO and General Manager Mohamed Thoyyib said, “We are very pleased to welcome travelers from the GCC region to the Maldives. The GCC region has historically been an important market for the Maldives, and the Middle East markets are the main source markets to the Maldives. The Maldives offers unprecedented peace of mind and security to all travelers to the Middle East.

The Maldives is a key point in the Emirates network, and currently serves 28 weekly flights. Since the start of this year, more than 170,000 passengers from over 100 countries have used Emirates to travel to the Maldives.

To support the government’s aggressive expansion plans in the tourism industry, Velana Airport management is building a new 78,000 m² international terminal that will accommodate up to 7.5 million passengers per year at its completion in 2022. The $ 1 billion project will include a new runway, cargo terminal complex, fuel fleet, seaplane terminal, aircraft boarding bridges, baggage handling, retail spaces, food and beverage outlets and lounges.

MACL awarded a design and construction contract to the Saudi group Binladin for the new airport terminal, while the Chinese urban construction group in Beijing is carrying out the construction of the new runway at the airport.

In addition, the government has also planned initiatives to preserve the environment, especially the protection of its vibrant natural coral reefs. This was noted as a key priority at the COP26 meeting – the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference which recently concluded in Glasgow, Scotland. Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih has expressed concerns about global warming and climate change on the islands, and is said to have said that if no action is taken to meet this current need, “the Maldives would cease to exist. ‘by the end of this century’.

The Maldives is expected to celebrate the 50th Golden Jubilee for tourism in the Maldives in 2022, with a calendar of events throughout the year.