The Maldives welcomed the one millionth tourist of the year on Friday morning (12 August).
Daniela Kilnarova and her partner from the Czech Republic arrived on Qatar Airways and were greeted with a ceremonial welcome featuring a bodu beru performance. The immigration department presented her with the Antara Tier (silver package) membership of the Maldives Border Miles loyalty programme.
Kilnarova came on her third trip to the Maldives. The couple planned to spend their holidays in the Robinson Noonu resort.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, State Minister for Tourism Dr Ahmed Solih noted that the one million milestone was previously reached in August only once, expressing optimism of meeting the government’s target of 1.6 million tourists by December.
“This is a joyous occasion, to be able to welcome one million tourists to our shores despite the hurdles we are facing,” said Thoyyib Mohamed, CEO of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation. “This is a combined effort of government authorities, policymakers, tourism sector employees, and stakeholders who are working hard, day and night, to get here. And while we celebrate this milestone, it hardly means our work is over- in fact we have to strengthen our efforts, with renewed dedication to defend our position as the World’s Leading Destination and achieve our targets. MMPRC has been and will continue our efforts to market the Sunny Side of Life globally.”
Total arrivals for 2022 reached 960,075 holidaymakers by 3 August, a whopping 53.3% increase from 2021 but -4.8% below pre-pandemic levels. Arrivals in July was up 1.1% from the same month in 2019 and arrivals in May surpassed the pre-pandemic record.
Before the incremental rise last month, May was only the fourth month – after August, October and November 2021 – to record an increase in arrivals compared to the corresponding pre-pandemic period since borders reopened in July 2020.
The Maldives tourism industry continues its robust recovery despite setbacks posed by the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which caused arrivals to plummet from the top market – and the complete absence of Chinese holidaymakers, who accounted for the largest source market before the pandemic.
India remains the top market with 137,790 tourists as of 3 August, representing a 14.4% market share, followed by the UK (111,657 tourists), Russia (103,365 tourists), Germany (77,306 tourists) and Italy (54,822 tourists).
There are 163 resorts, 155 safari vessels and 849 hotels and guesthouses in operation across the country with a combined bed capacity of 57,487.