Tourist arrivals grew by a whopping 53.8% in February 2022 compared to the same period last year.
Some 149,008 tourists visited the Maldives last month. But arrivals fell short of the 168,583 tourists recorded in February 2019. Chinese holidaymakers, who accounted for the top market before the Covid-19 pandemic, have yet to return.
Total arrivals stood at 324,742 as of 9 March, up nearly 50% from last year. Russia was the top market with 48,173 tourists, followed by the UK, India, Germany and Italy.
Arrivals from Russia are expected to decline significantly due to unprecedented economic sanctions. A US$10,000 limit was imposed on dollar withdrawals last week and Russian flag carrier Aeroflot suspended international flights on 8 March. The national airline – which carried more than 300 passengers to the Maldives daily – operated extra flights from Malé to Moscow on 7 March to evacuate Russian tourists. However, two airlines, Azure and Nordwind, continue to operate charter flights. Russian tourists will also be able to travel to the Maldives via Qatar Airways, Emirates and Srilankan Airlines.
Some 162 resorts, 651 hotels and guesthouses, and 149 safari vessels are presently in operation across the country.