Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation CEO Thoyyib Mohamed participated in a high-level panel discussion at the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) Destination Marketing Forum 2022 in Songkhla, Thailand.
Thoyyib, also managing director of the government tourism promotion firm, was one of the expert speakers for a discussion on ‘Destination Marketing in the Age of Covid-19’ along with Noredah Othman, CEO of Sabah Tourism, and Dinh Ngoc Duc, director general of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s marketing department.
“During the past year, our focus has been on working together to tackle the challenges faced by Covid-19. And our tourism sector has been extremely successful,” Thoyyib said. “We dropped to half a million tourists in 2020 but this figure jumped to over 1.3 million in 2021. We are nearing the one millionth tourist mark in 2022 already, and I am proud to announce that the Maldives is now closing in on pre-pandemic arrival figures.”
As the Maldives tourism industry bounced back faster than expected, tourist arrivals for 2022 reached 960,075 holidaymakers by 3 August, only -4.8% below pre-pandemic levels. Arrivals for July was 1.1% higher than the same period in 2019.
Among the efforts and accolades crucial to the ongoing recovery, Thoyyib highlighted earning the ‘Safe Travels’ label by the World Travel Tourism Council in September 2020, the fully digital ‘Maldives: The Sun Will Shine Again’ campaign, which was watched live by a global audience of over 850,000 people, and a successful vaccination drive for tourism sector workers.
Concluding his remarks at the discussion, Thoyyib expressed optimism for the future of the Maldives tourism industry and suggested that the present moment was “the perfect time to roll up our sleeves and continue to make the changes we need for the future, to maintain the Maldives’ position ahead of the curve, as we have done before.”
Beginning on 4 August, the forum featured two days of networking and insightful discussions on key issues in marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations under the theme ‘Building Back Sustainably Through Cultural Heritage and Community-Based Tourism.’
High-level executives who participated in the event included H.E. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, and Supawan Teerarat, Senior Vice President of MICE Capability and Innovation, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau. Prominent speakers at the forum included Nicola Eliot, Vice President of BBC StoryWorks; Montakarn Suvanatap Kittipaisalsilp, Programme Officer for Culture, UNESCO Thailand; and Naomi Mano, President of the Japan MICE Association and President and CEO of Luxurique Inc.