The Maldives, unfazed by the Covid-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the travel industry, is planning to promote the destination aggressively at overseas trade exhibitions and roadshows through the year.
Initially, the NTO is preparing to participate at trade events and roadshows in Russia and India next month, said Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) managing director Thoyyib Mohamed.
The MITT trade show in Moscow, a B2B and B2C event, will take place from March 16-18; coinciding with roadshows in Moscow, Kazakhstan, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. Meanwhile, India’s South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange will be held on March 22 along with a roadshow.
There are no quarantine requirements for incoming travellers in both Russia and India, apart from having to furnish a negative Covid-19 PCR report on arrival – the same rule applied for arrivals in the Maldives, said Mohamed.
Since reopening its borders on July 15, 2020 after a four-month pandemic closure, the Maldives has seen a steady climb in tourist arrivals which peaked in December, with the island recording more than 96,000 arrivals – a 170 per cent increase – during the month.
Tourist arrivals this year from January to February 12 totalled 129,507, as compared to 233,974 in the same 2020 period; while arrivals for the shortened 2020 year was 555,494, as compared to 1.7 million in 2019. This year’s tourist arrival target is set at 1.2 million.
This year, Russia, India, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Romania are the top source markets; while in 2020, India led the way followed by Russia, Italy, the UK and Germany. Meanwhile, China, for years the Maldives’ biggest generating market, was in sixth place largely due to outbound travel restrictions.
Suresh Dissanayake, assistant vice president – sales & marketing, Heritance Aarah, Adaaran Resorts, said arrivals were steadily picking up and they expect a better season than in 2020. “We also hope to take part in some of the overseas exhibitions,” he added.
According to MMPRC’s fairs, roadshows and events calendar for 2021, the NTO will be participating in more than 40 events in the US, China, India, Russia, Italy, the Middle East, Spain, Poland, Thailand, Singapore, South Africa, the Philippines, Malaysia, France, Australia, Japan and Brazil.
As of February 13, the Maldives recorded 17,716 Covid-19 cases and 58 related deaths. Unlike most countries, tourism is flourishing in the Maldives during the pandemic period as all the tourist resorts are situated on isolated islands distant from the capital city, Male – also an island – where most of the infections and deaths have occurred.