Growth trajectory continues for Maldives tourism

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Tourist arrivals continued to grow at a healthy pace in March despite less than ideal global conditions.

Tourist numbers reached 150,739 during the month, a considerable 38% increase from March 2021 but still -7.4% below pre-pandemic levels. The average duration of stay fell from nine days in January to eight days in March.

The United Kingdom overtook Russia to become the top market with 58,608 holidaymakers as of 6 April, representing a market share of 12.7%. Arrivals from Russia, which have fallen by 70% since the start of the war in Ukraine in late February, stood at 53,010 with a share of 11.5% as the second-largest market. Russia was the top market with 44,055 holidaymakers as of 2 March.

India was the third-largest market (50,242), followed by Germany (37,760), Italy (31,898), France (21,491), United States (21,009), Switzerland (10,565), Saudi Arabia (10,185), and Austria (9,415).

Russia was the second-largest source market in 2021 with 222,424 tourists, 2.7 times higher than pre-pandemic levels. Formerly a top market, Ukraine has now dropped from the top ten. Before the war, Ukraine was the seventh-largest market with 7,948 tourists. On 27 February, the Maldives immigration offered a special visa for Ukrainian tourists who wished to stay for an extended period.

The authorities are hopeful that Chinese tourists, who accounted for the top market before the pandemic with 284,029 holidaymakers in 2019, could return in the final quarter of 2022.

As of 6 April, there were 164 resorts, 656 hotels and guesthouses, and 150 safari vessels in operation in the Maldives, representing a combined capacity of 54,662 beds. At present, 27 international flights operate to the Maldives.