“Travelers are increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of travel. “

Known for its pristine beaches, luxury resorts and exciting water sports, the Maldives is one of the favorite international destinations for Indians. In 2020 and 2021, India became the primary source market for the Maldives. This year, from January 1, 2021 to October 13, 2021, a total of 923,146 tourists arrived in the Maldives. India topped the list of the top five markets during this period, followed by Russia, Germany, the United States and Saudi Arabia. A total of 211,062 Indians visited the Maldives this year in October 2021, contributing 23% of total tourist arrivals to the Maldives. India was also at the top of the list in 2020 with 62,960 tourist arrivals, or 11.3% of the total. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director, Maldives Marketing & PR Corporation (MMPRC) spoke about the success of tourism in the Maldives, its post-pandemic revival and more. Extracts:

How do you feel about India emerging as the Maldives’ primary source market again?

I can say that I am delighted to see that India is once again emerging as the main source market for the Maldives after falling behind Russia for a brief period earlier this year. As of October 5, 2021, we have welcomed a total of 890,363 travelers including 204,530 travelers from the Indian market.

What steps is the Maldives taking to boost the confidence of travelers to visit the island nation?

We market and maintain our destination presence in all of our key markets around the world. During this time, the most crucial concern that is on everyone’s mind is safety, security and peace of mind. And this is one of the key aspects that people take into account when deciding to travel to a certain destination.

We have taken all necessary measures and beyond to make the Maldives a haven of peace, serenity, isolation and security. You see, the unique geography of the Maldives ensures that all of our islands are naturally distant from each other, creating an unmatched level of safety and comfort.

Our one island, one resort concept ensures that every resort operates under strict measures to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of all travelers. Our element of security is one of the most crucial points we use in our marketing efforts.

Maldives, visit the Maldives, visit the Maldives, resorts in the MaldivesThoyyib Mohamed, Director General (MD), MMPRC

What are the different types of experiences the Maldives have to offer?

The Maldives offer a slice of paradise for everyone. First and foremost, we are known the world over as a luxury honeymoon destination. However, the Maldives is a destination that has a lot to offer. Almost every traveler is familiar with world-class luxury resorts, but our guesthouses, cruise ships, and hotels are often overlooked.

We are the perfect destination for the thrilling adventurer, budget traveler, water sports enthusiast, luxury traveler, honeymooners, families, Muslim travelers and more. Recently, we have even taken our first steps to position the Maldives as the ideal destination for MICE.

If you want details, the list is endless. Private villas on stilts? To verify. A bubble tent tucked away in seclusion on the beach? To verify. Parasailing over the scattered islands? To verify. Indulge in gourmet cuisines in an underwater restaurant? To verify. We really have it all.

Is the Maldives witnessing a change in the type / profile of travelers visiting the country?

Travelers are increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of travel. We are seeing a trend where travelers want more than the normal services previously offered in tourist establishments, travelers now want experiences.

Travelers want to make a difference and immerse themselves in the lifestyle and culture of the destinations they travel to. In the Maldives, travelers have the opportunity to actively participate in innovative environmental initiatives undertaken in tourist establishments. Additionally, travelers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and way of life of the Maldives by staying in a guesthouse.

Travel photos from the Maldives have flooded social media. Influencers, bloggers and celebrities all travel to the Maldives. Is this part of your strategy (using SM via celebrities)? Thank you for enlightening us.

There are two things at play here. Indeed, at Visit Maldives, we have invited several celebrities, influencers, travel journalists, public relations and media outlets to our white sand shores and crystal clear waters. However, thousands upon thousands of Indian travelers make their way to the Maldives every day. It is only natural that these travelers want to capture the allure and the breathtaking beauty of our islands, and social networks are therefore inundated with these images.
We definitely collaborate with multiple social media to promote the Maldives and maintain the destination’s presence. During the pandemic, we learned that one of the best ways to market our destination is through digital and social media. We are exploring how we can creatively use social media and digital media to market the Maldives.

What COVID safety standards and protocols does Maldives tourism follow?

We have COVID security standards and protocols in place to ensure the safety of all tourists and staff. The Maldives are now open to all nationalities and travelers are granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival provided they have a reservation registered with a tourist establishment.

It is mandatory for all tourists to present a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for Covid-19 on arrival. The sample for said test must be taken no later than 96 hours before the scheduled departure time from the first port of embarkation en route to the Maldives. However, infants under the age of one are exempt from the aforementioned testing requirement.

During the month of April 2021, Visit Maldives, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, launched the “I am vaccinated” campaign to share a positive message regarding the vaccination of personnel working in the tourism sector as well as to promote initiatives undertaken to ensure that the Maldives remains one of the world’s safest destinations for travelers. Our goal is to make the Maldives a destination with the world’s first 100% fully vaccinated tourism industry. Currently, 93% of staff are fully immunized.

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