The Maldives greeted the first tourist of 2022 with a ceremonious welcome at the Velana International Airport on Saturday morning.

Georgina Canning from the UK, who arrived with her partner in her second visit to the Maldives, was greeted by tourism officials with a 5-night holiday at the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo resort. Special gifts were also presented by the tourism ministry, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, Maldives Immigration, local telco Dhiraagu and Koel Eyewear.

“In spite of the global challenges, the year 2021 has been a very successful year for Maldives tourism,” remarked Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom. “Tourist bed capacity increased by 9.4% and the bed nights exceeded 11 million breaking the previous record of 10.7 nights. Furthermore, Maldives won the World’s Leading Destination Award by World Travel Awards for the 2nd time consecutively.”

Ibrahim Thoha, acting in-charge of the Maldives Airports Company Ltd, said: As a significant contributor to the aviation and tourism industry, we believe that by providing attractive incentive packages to our partner airlines we have boosted growth in our tourism industry. Additionally with our high safety standards, Velana International Airport was awarded the ACI Health Accreditation Certificate as the second airport from Asia Pacific. All these efforts have been rewarded by the rising number of passengers flying in each month, approaching pre-Covid levels.”

The first visitors of the year from major markets were meanwhile greeted with gift tote bags.