The Maldives needs to expand its marketing to tourism segments beyond honeymooners and couples in order to grow inbound arrivals, industry players said at the Bank of Maldives Hotelier Summit, held yesterday as part of the inaugural Travel Trade Maldives show.
The strategy is key in view of the destination's increasing hotel capacity putting pressure on room rates. “Two years ago, a room in a five-star property in Maldives was sold from US$700 with breakfast. Now, five star room rates start from US$500," Suresh Dissanayake, corporate general manager – sales & marketing, Adaaran Resorts in the Maldives, shared with TTG Asia.
Speaking at a destination marketing panel session at the summit, Dissanayake added: “The Maldives should look at organising international sporting events and entertainment events using international celebrities to promote Maldives.”
Spencer Lee, head of commercial, Malaysia AirAsia, agreed: “The Maldives needs to have more stories to appeal to everyone. Not just high flyers, honeymooners and couples.”
Haikal Idris, head of business development, Tripfez, opined that the Maldives should also look at attracting Muslim tourists by catering to their needs. This could include having the Qiblat sign in hotel rooms and halal food – the two topmost priorities for Muslim travellers according to recent research by Salam Standard – as well as ensuring there is no alcohol in the minibar.